EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has made clear that the trading bloc’s position with regards to steel tariffs is on the side of the US, agreeing that the “root cause” of the issue is found in Chinese overproduction.
Malmstrom heads to Washington today to seek EU exemption from the 25% tariffs on steel and 10% tariffs on aluminium that President Trump signed last week. She will make the case that both the EU and US are sufferers of the same problem coming from China.
The US has outlined five criteria by which country’s must follow if they are to warrant exemption from the tariffs. One of these is that the country in question must have a plan to deal with unfair trade linked to China.
In a confidential note from Brussels to US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, seen by the Financial Times on Monday, the EU said that its “industry is paying the price for a problem it has not created nor contributed to. It struggles just like US industry.” It adds “The EU is the highest priced significant exported of steel to the US market, on which the main price pressure arises from overcapacity triggered notable by non-market behaviour in China.”