BRUSSELS – The European Union’s commissioner for economic and financial affairs said on Tuesday that a trade war was not a solution to the United States imposing trade tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.
Pierre Moscovici spoke ahead of an Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting in Brussels where US President Donald Trump’s decision, signed Thursday, to levy a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and another 10 percent on aluminum has been labeled as a move likely to trigger a trade war.
“We shouldn’t escalate; war is never a solution, but we are ready to answer if necessary,” Moscovici said.
On the other hand, European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said that if the US imposed unilateral tariffs against the EU, “it must react in a proportionate but firm manner.”
Trump had justified tariffs as “vital” for US national security.
Dombrovskis said the EU was prepared to counter what he described as Washington’s protectionist tariff measures.
France’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, said a European response was necessary after Trump’s announcement.
Le Maire added he would support the Commission’s proposals whether they may be “countermeasures” or other options.
“Once again I would like to insist that we want to avoid a kind of trade war between the EU and the US, but we have to respond.”
The Bulgarian Minister of Finance, Vladislav Goranov, whose country currently occupies the rotating presidency of the EU Council, called for a “deep” discussion because it was never a good idea to overreact.”
The EU is currently in contact with US officials to seek a European exemption to tariffs.