The European Union outlined a three-pronged response to proposed metals tariffs from President Donald Trump‘s U.S. administration on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU’s commissioner for trade, said the institution would take the case to the World Trade Organization and would coordinate its actions with other trade partners that are also against the proposed tariffs from the U.S.
She also said that Brussels has prepared a provisional list of U.S. products that would see higher tariffs from the EU, if Trump does indeed move ahead with the import taxes. This list has not been made public, but according to leaks in the media, the EU’s tariffs could amount to 2.83 billion euros ($3.52 billion).
Lastly, she said that the EU was getting ready to put safeguard measures in place to prevent metal flooding in the EU, as a result of the tariffs.
“There are indications that President Trump, very soon, in the coming days, we don’t know for sure, may sign-off a decision on import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, which he announced on the March 1,” Malmstrom said.
“This is done under something that’s called section 232, which refers to internal or national security. We have serious doubts about that justification, we cannot see how the European Union’s friends and allies in NATO can be a threat to national security in the U.S. We find that assumption deeply unjust,” she added.
In the eyes of the EU, “the motivation of the U.S. is an economic safeguard measure in disguise, not national security measure,” Malmstrom added. “That means the EU is entitled to make use of a WTO safeguard agreement to rebalance benefits that we have given to the U.S. in the past.”