March 8, 2018 / 10:00 PM / 7 months ago

EU is U.S. ally and should be exempt from tariffs - EU trade chief

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Thursday that the European Union was a close ally of the United States and should be exempt from impending U.S. metals tariffs.

European Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom holds a news conference in Brussels, Belgium March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

U.S. President Donald Trump pressed ahead with the imposition of 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent for aluminium on Thursday but exempted Canada and Mexico, and the U.S. administration left open the possibility of “alternative remedies” for other countries.

Malmstrom said in a tweet: “The EU is a close ally of the U.S. and we continue to be of the view that the EU should be excluded from these measures.”

“I will seek more clarity on this issue in the days to come. Looking forward to meeting USTR Lighthizer in Brussels on Sat to discuss.”

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who is set to handle negotiations with countries seeking an exemption, is due to meet Malmstrom and Japanese trade minister Hiroshige Seko in Brussels on Saturday to discuss steel overcapacity.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop

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