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Amidst Rising Global Trade Tensions, Europe Firm On Its Stand on Trade with U.S.

Amidst Rising Global Trade Tensions, Europe Firm On Its Stand on Trade with U.S.
In a global trade environment tensed by possible trade war between the Unites States and China and the more protectionist stand taken by the Trump administration, a firm stand was taken on trade with the U.S. by France and the European Union.
The EU was granted a waiver by the Trump administration till May 1 form the 25 per cent and 10 per cent tariff on steel and aluminum respectively. The tariffs were announced the Trump administration last month and had initially exempted Canada and Mexico. Later a number of other allays of the U.S. were also exempt from the tariffs. The waiver for the Eu provided some breathing space for the economic block to try and resolve the issue through negotiations on trade and security issues. And even though the EU is having a tough time in working out the details of the demands of the U.S., the block has pledged to find out a solution for the dispute.
“There is no question of a softening or weakening in face of a unilateral decision taken by the U.S. on steel,” Benjamin Griveaux, a spokesman for the French government, told reporters in Paris on Wednesday. France wants “to ensure trade law as well as reciprocity in trade with the U.S. is respected.”
Warnings against any steps that could potentially undermine the World Trade Organization was separately issued by a spokesman for the European Commission. The Commission is the executive arm of the 28-nation bloc. The responsibility of ensuring that any trade actions or deals being compatible with global rules rests with the Commission, the spokesperson said.
“The EU believes measures should always be taken within the World Trade Organization framework, which provides a number of tools to effectively deal with trade differences,” Commission Spokesman Daniel Rosario told reporters in Brussels. “We call on the relevant parties to ensure WTO compliance of their trade actions.”
In a separate development, the trade tensions between the U.S. China were raised further on Wednesday after the second largest economy of the world announced a list of U.S. goods imported into China that would be subjected to tariffs in the same manner as the Trump administration had announced tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese goods imported in to the U.S. The Chinese list included soybeans, automobiles, chemicals and aircraft exports from the U.S. into China. the announcement was met with fear in the world markets as most of the markets saw a fall with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling down by 1.3 per cent on Wednesday.
The EU is busy trying to get on a common ground with Trump even though there is just a little more than three weeks remaining for the exemption from Trump tariffs on the EU to end. At threat is disruption in the trade relationship that was worth $640 billion, as recorded in 2-16, between the Eu and the US.
Europe must “have a dialogue but must also protect our industries,” Griveaux said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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