June 3, 2018 / 11:34 AM / 5 months ago

Moscovici 'not optimistic' trade row with U.S. will be resolved at G7

FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici holds a new conference on the European Semester Spring package at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

PARIS (Reuters) - EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said on Sunday he was not optimistic that next week’s G7 meeting in Canada would resolve the conflict created by a U.S. decision to impose tariffs on imports from several of its allies.

The United States said on Thursday it would hit steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico with tariffs. All three plan reprisals.

“I don’t have any reason at this stage to be optimistic ... We are going to see if it (a trade war) effectively starts. That assumes one thing, escalation,” Moscovici told France Inter Radio. “We, too, need to be ready to step up a notch, but also keep a cool head.”

Finance leaders of the rest of the G7 vented anger over the tariffs in a rare show of united disapproval after a three-day meeting before the G7 summit next week in Quebec.

“I’ve been to these meetings for a long time. But this is a very rare case where opposition against the United States was unanimous,” Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters.

“(EU counter-measures) will be taken over the coming days,” Moscovici said on Sunday. “It is to increase, on our side, taxes on a certain number of products of an equivalent size to what represent the American surtax in Europe.”

Reporting by Maya Nikolaeva

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