March 2, 2018 / 9:17 AM / 6 months ago

EU warns of retaliation against any U.S. steel, aluminium tariffs

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The European Union’s trade chief on Friday warned of possible retaliation if U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminium apply to Europe.

Steel is loaded at a plant of German steel manufacturer Salzgitter AG in Salzgitter, Germany March 1, 2018. Picture taken March 1, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Trump said on Thursday the duties, 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium, would be formally announced next week, although White House officials later said some details still needed to be ironed out.

Speaking in Singapore, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said any move that would target Europe would be “deeply unfair”.

“We are discussing different measures. Everything from bringing the case to the WTO (World Trade Organisation), alone or with partners who are also affected, and also safeguard measures and possible retaliation,” Malmstrom said.

“These are things we are discussing internally in the (EU)Commission and with our member states. But obviously nothing will be announced until we know the full extent of these measures.”

Earlier on Friday, Australia’s trade minister also said the planned tariffs risk retaliation from other economies and could cost jobs, while China predicted harm to trade if other countries follow the example of the U.S.

Fears of an escalating trade war roiled Asian markets, hitting the share prices of steelmakers and manufacturers supplying U.S. markets particularly hard.

Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Writing by John Geddie; Editing by Sam Holmes

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