Brussels :Top EU trade officials will hold crunch talks with their US counterparts in Brussels on Saturday hoping to get “clarity” on President Donald Trump’s controversial new steel and aluminium tariffs. Trump’s announcement of duties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminium has stung the European Union and triggered warnings of an all-out international trade war. Brussels has prepared a list of US products to hit with countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs, but says it hopes to join Canada and Mexico in being exempted. The EU’s top trade official Cecilia Malmstroem will meet US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Brussels from 9:00 am (0800 GMT) along with Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko. The talks have long been in the diary but after Trump’s dramatic announcement they are now a de facto crisis meeting. “Dialogue is always the prime option of the European Union,” Malmstroem told reporters on Friday, saying Brussels was “counting on being excluded” from the new duties. She predicted a “long day” of talks on Saturday, while European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen sought to play down expectations, saying it was “a meeting, not THE meeting”. Katainen said Brussels wanted “clarity” on how the tariffs will be implemented and was ready to enforce retaliatory measures to protect European interests if needed.
Orignally published by APP