EU Urges U.S. Not to Exempt UK from Steel Tariffs Ahead of Brexit

ROTHERHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: A worker tends to the furnace producing ferrotitanium during a visit to Tivac Alloys by UKIP leader Nigel Farage to see first hand how the global steel crisis is affecting small businesses on April 18, 2016 in Rotherham, England. Candidates are canvassing for votes in …
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The European Union (EU) is urging the U.S. not to exclude the UK from steel tariffs, demanding President Donald J. Trump treats the UK as part of “a whole body” EU, even as it leaves the bloc.

The President signed an executive order on Thursday night, bringing forth the 25 per cent levy on steel imports, but said he could exclude Canada and Mexico.

The UK, which is leaving the EU and looking to build new trade links with the U.S., is also pushing to be excluded, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has said.

“We will, of course, be looking to see how we can maximise the UK’s case for exemption under these particular circumstances,” he told the BBC.

Adding: “We understand the anxieties about steel over-production that the United States has but we believe there are other ways to tackle that on a multilateral basis.”

The EU had adopted a combative approaching to the President’s tariffs, threating wide-ranging retaliation, with Jean-Claude Juncker, the unelected President of the European Commission, saying: “We can do stupid too.”

Now, the bloc’s Commissioner for trade, Cecilia Malmström, has confirmed they want to drag the UK into their war of words and trade, rather than allow the UK to build on its relationship with the U.S. as it regains sovereignty.

“There are different rumours about ‘that could be excluded and that could be excluded,’ and it is not crystal clear what came from the president yesterday,”  Ms. Malmström said at the Brussels Forum Thursday.

“But our assumption is that the EU is a whole body and that the U.S. will respect that,” she added. “Otherwise that is questioning the whole EU as a project, which is quite dramatic.”

President Trump, meanwhile, has said there will be a reduction in tariffs for countries that “treat us fairly”, adding: “Many of the countries that treat us the worst on trade and on military are our allies.”

He had earlier in the day singled out Germany for criticism. Europe’s largest economy has a huge trade surplus with the U.S. and spends only 1.2 per cent of its GDP on defence, falling well short of its two per cent NATO target.

The UK, in contrast, has a trade deficit with the U.S. according to U.S. records (although this is contested) and has made efforts to meet its NATO spending target.

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