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11 March 2018, 01:12 | Marta Robbins
European Union to host US, Japan on steel as US tariffs loom
The EU exports around five billion euros' (US$4 billion) worth of steel and a billion euros' worth of aluminium to the United States each year, and the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, estimates Trump's tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros.
But U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to sign on Thursday or Friday a proclamation to establish tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. The White House said the move will help the United States protect industries and jobs from unfair competition and that across-the-board tariffs are needed because countries like China use third countries for shipping steel to the United States, disguising its origin.
She did not say what level of tariffs the European Union would set, leaving it unclear what the economic impact would be.
Foreign steel producers are not only concerned about losing access to the USA market but also that steel from other exporters will flood already saturated markets, threatening jobs elsewhere. Kono added that his office would respond appropriately upon examining any impact on Japanese companies and World Trade Organization rules.
Seko said he believed there was still time for Japan to secure an exemption.
Japan's government has warned the measure could hurt its economic relations with the U.S. But Seko also cautioned that "falling to exchanges of unilateral measures will not be in the interest of any country", according to the Kyodo news agency.
The European Steel Association condemned Trump's decision, warning that it "could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the EU steel industry and related sectors".
Trump insisted in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron - a leading European Union player staunchly opposed to the tariffs - that the "decision is necessary and appropriate to protect national security".
The EU itself already has tariffs on many imports.
At that time, the European Union compiled a list of items for retaliatory tariffs that included steel products, but also orange juice, apples, sunglasses, knitwear, motor boats and photocopying machines.
Within minutes of Trump's announcement, U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a critic of the president, said he would introduce a bill to nullify the tariffs.
"At least in the near term, prospects for German industry have never looked rosier", economist Carsten Brzeski of ING Diba bank said after official data showed industrial production held steady in January.
"This is not a trade negotiation", Katainen said. The U.S. bought 5 per cent of Japan's steel past year but just 1.1 per cent of China's steel.
Brazil is the United States' No. 2 steel supplier.
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