France, Germany support EU decision to respond to US trade tariffs

PARIS, France, joined by Germany, expressed “regret” on Thursday at US decision to impose trade tariffs on steel and aluminum products coming from the European Union and warned they will take steps to respond in kind to the US action.

In a joint statement issued here by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and German Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier, both countries vowed to “take all appropriate measures and respond accordingly” to the US tariffs.

Washington at midnight Wednesday slapped a 25 percent tariff on European steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum coming from the EU, expanding its existing protectionist policies and rescinding an exemption for European Union producers.

Germany is a major supplier of steel to the US market and would be hardest hit by the US measures.

“In line with the statements made by the European Commission, France and Germany regret the decisions taken unilaterally by the US authorities,” the joint statement indicated.

The two European powerhouses promised to continue close cooperation on this issue and the EU is imminently expected to announce tariffs on a number of US products, prompting fears of an escalating trade dispute that could end in a harmful, wider trade war.

Yesterday, the influential Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said in its ministerial meeting in Paris that the spectre of a trade war is already having a negative impact on economies and affecting job prospects and investments.

Source: Kuwait News Agency