Brussels (AFP) – EU countries on Thursday approved a raft of retaliatory tariffs, including on whiskey and motorcycles, against painful duties imposed by US President Donald Trump on European metals, sources said.
The 28-member bloc agreed to activate the countermeasures after Trump on June 1 followed through on his threat to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminium exports.
“Member states have today unanimously supported the commission’s plan for the adoption of rebalancing measures on the US tariffs on steel and aluminium,” a European Commission source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The source added that the tariffs would take effect “in coming days”, with other officials saying they would be implemented by the beginning of July.
From blue jeans to motorbikes and whiskey, the EU’s hit-list of products targeted for tariffs with the US reads like a catalogue of emblematic American exports.
Brussels first drew up the list in March when Trump initially floated the 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium, which also target Canada, Mexico and other close allies.
“The EU will exercise its rights on US products valued at up to 2.8 billion euros ($3.3 billion) of trade, as notified to the WTO,” the commission source added.
Transatlantic ties are at their lowest level for many years due to rows over a host of issues including the tariffs, the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal and the new US embassy in Jerusalem.