European steel group warns Trump tariffs could ‘blow up’ WTO

European steel group warns Trump tariffs could ‘blow up’ WTO
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A European trade group warned on Friday that 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's plan to impose stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports could "blow up" the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"This whole issue can blow up the WTO," Axel Eggert, the head of the European Steel Association, told Bloomberg in an interview. "This is not about national security. This is about propping up a U.S. industry that isn’t viable."

Trump's announcement on Thursday that he would slap a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum could provoke retaliation by other countries, Bloomberg reported. 

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Trump's decision to impose the tariffs was based on some of the harshest recommendations put forth by the Commerce Department earlier this year.

In the report making the recommendations, the Commerce Department declared steel and aluminum imports from China and elsewhere a national security threat.

Trump's announcement spurred swift condemnation from foreign governments, including in the United Kingdom and Canada. Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland warned Thursday that Ottawa would take "responsive measures" if the Trump administration put the tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Eggert told Bloomberg that Trump should instead work with the European Union to rein in steel overcapacity in China, the world's largest producer of the metal.

"That is really the root problem," he said. "We need to address this together with the U.S."