Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has called on the United States for the European Union to be exempted from the planned U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Ms. Merkel said, “the best thing would be if we (the European Union) could be exempted,” with an ensuing warning that European Union would react if a negotiation fails.
Angela Merkel, implying to the so-called trade war, said a ‘race to the bottom’ would serve no one and everyone would end up getting hurt.
She warned the United States that the proposed tariff risked ‘hurting everyone’ and if talks fail between the U.S. and EU, “we, in Europe, can of course also react.”
Ms. Merkel’s statement followed unprecedented tensions between the longstanding allied the U.S. and the EU over the U.S. President Trump’s proposed tariff plan over imported steel and aluminum.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, in response to the U.S President’s tariff plans, said: “We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levi’s.”
The German Chancellor said in her regular weekend video podcast, “We have decided, with more emphasis than in the past, to push on with the ‘Common Corporation Tax with France’ project.
“That means when we decide on a joint corporation tax assessment basis for France and Germany, we will also consider the realities that are unfolding in America.”
A war of words over trade began with Trump vowing to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. The IMF, WTO, and EU voiced against the move.
The U.S. President Donald Trump has announced the imported steels will face 25% tariff with a 10% tariff on aluminum products.
The U.S. tariff plans sparked an international outcry. The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the proposed tariffs were ‘absolutely unacceptable’ and he is “confident we’re going to continue to be able to defend Canadian industry.”
The White House, however, later announced that some countries may be exempted from the planned tariffs on metal imports.
The White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Canada and Mexico may be exempted from the planned tariffs on ‘national security grounds’.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), denouncing the tariff move, said in a statement, “The import restrictions announced by the U.S. President Donald Trump are likely to cause damage not only outside the U.S. but also to the U.S. economy itself, including to its manufacturing and construction sectors, which are major users of aluminum and steel.”
“The WTO is clearly concerned at the announcement of US plans for tariffs on steel and aluminum. The potential for escalation is real, as we have seen from the initial responses of others,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said in a statement.