Trump will hit EU with steel, aluminum tariffs: report

Trump will hit EU with steel, aluminum tariffs: report
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The Trump administration is expected to hit the European Union with steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

EU trade officials have spent the past couple of months trying to work out an agreement to stave off the tariffs and earn the 28-nation bloc an exemption.

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But those efforts appear to have failed with the U.S. planning to slap the hefty tariffs on a key ally. 

In March, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE announced that the United States would levy tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum for national security reasons.

The White House extended until Friday the deadline for several nations, including the EU, Argentina and Brazil, to reach deals on their steel and aluminum imports before getting hit by the tariffs.  

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossOn The Money: US files complaints at WTO | House leaders get deal to boost biz investment | Mnuchin says US will consider Iran sanctions waivers | FCC deals blow to Sinclair-Tribune merger Ex-cyber officials demand to know security measures for 2020 Census It’s time to confirm the US Export-Import Bank Board for our economic security MORE delivered a harsh message during the annual Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development trade forum in Paris on Wednesday, saying negotiations can continue even with the tariffs in place.

"There can be negotiations with or without tariffs, it’s not that you can’t talk with tariffs,” Ross said, the Financial Times reported.

“China is an interesting case in point. They are paying the tariffs; they came into effect in March and they haven't used this as an excuse not to talk. It’s only the EU insisting we can’t negotiate if there are tariffs."

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel each lobbied Trump for a waiver during recent trips to the White House.

If Trump moves forward, the EU will likely retaliate next month with promised tariffs of about $3.3 billion on iconic American products such as bourbon, jeans and motorcycles.

An announcement from the White House could come as early as Thursday, the Journal said. 

Earlier in the day, the American Chamber of Commerce in the EU called on Trump to provide a permanent exemption from any metals tariffs because of the economic importance of the relationship.

“The EU is America’s staunchest ally, not a U.S. national security threat,” the Chamber said on Twitter.