Washington: The trade war is likely to intensify in coming days as President Donald Trump intends to impose steep import duties on steel and aluminium imports from Europe starting Friday, after weeks of talks failed to reach a compromise.
Trade officials from Washington and Brussels had continued discussions to find a solution, such as import quotas, that would convince Trump to extend the exemption for the European Union from the 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminium.
It seems that a last-minute deal appeared unlikely, and the tariff announcement by the Trump administration could come as early as Thursday.
Trump imposed the tariffs in March to address the global oversupply of the metals but thought it was largely aimed at China it hit US allies as well.
Washington exempted Canada and Mexico from the tariffs while negotiations continue to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, and South Korea agreed to quotas instead of tariffs.
The EU has vowed to hit back at the US with tariffs on American goods, including iconic items such as Harley-Davidson motorbikes, blue jeans and bourbon whiskey.
The metals dispute is just one front in Trump’s multi-sided trade confrontation that has hit economic partners and adversaries alike. He has veered from threats to compromise and back again, sowing confusion in global capitals.
He is pressing ahead with 25% tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, even after last week saying that dispute was “on hold,” and 25% tariffs on auto imports, which is likely to spark a fierce reaction from the EU as well.
Trump’s refusal to grant Japan an exemption to the steel and aluminium tariffs is also putting a strain on his relationship with Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister.