The European Commission adopted on June 20 the regulation putting in place the EU’s rebalancing measures in response to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. The measures will immediately target a list of products worth €2.8 billion (U.S. $3.2 billion) and will come into effect on June 22.
This decision is part of the three-pronged response outlined by the European Commission earlier this year. This also includes the launch on June 1 of legal proceedings against the United States in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and safeguard actions to protect the European market from disruptions caused by the diversion of steel from the U.S. market.
The EU’s rebalancing measures follow the Trump Administation’s announcement that, starting June 1, the United States will impose additional duties of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on imports of steel and aluminium from the European Union.
In retaliation, the list of U.S. imports that will now face an extra duty at the EU border includes steel and aluminum products, agricultural goods, and a combination of various other products. By putting these duties in place, the EU is exercising its rights under the WTO rules.
“We did not want to be in this position. However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the United States to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice,” said Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström. “The rules of international trade, which we have developed over the years hand in hand with our American partners, cannot be violated without a reaction from our side.”
“Our response is measured, proportionate, and fully in line with WTO rules,” Malmström added. “If the United States removes its tariffs, our measures will also be removed.”
Today’s announcement follows the notification of the full list to the WTO and its endorsement by the College of Commissioners on June 6, following U.S. application of the full tariffs on EU steel and aluminum products. EU Member States have expressed their unanimous support for this approach.
The EU will rebalance bilateral trade with the United States taking as a basis the value of its steel and aluminum exports affected by the U.S. measures, worth €6.4 billion (U.S. $7.4 billion). Of this amount, the European Union will rebalance on €2.8 billion worth of exports immediately, the European Comission said.
The remaining rebalancing on trade valued at €3.6 billion (U.S. $4.8 billion) will take place at a later stage—in three years’ time or after a positive finding in WTO dispute settlement if that should come sooner. The EU rebalancing measures will be effective for as long as the U.S. measures are in place, in line with the WTO Safeguards Agreement and EU legislation, the European Commission stated.
The Implementing Regulation, to be published on June 21 and entering into force on June 22, sets out the products and level of duties to be applied, both now and in the future, if necessary. The list of products is the same as in the previous Implementing Regulation of May 16 and as notified to the WTO on May 18.