As if Brexit was not enough, European Union gears up for US trade war

European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker / Photo via Daily Mail

BBC — European Union officials have said they will respond “firmly” if US President Donald Trump presses ahead with his plan for steep global duties on metals.

EU trade chiefs are considering slapping 25% tariffs on around £2.5bn of imports from the US, Reuters news agency reports.

World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo said: “A trade war is in no one’s interests.”

The rhetoric ramped up as Mr Trump tweeted that “trade wars are good”.

International condemnation has greeted the US president’s Thursday announcement that he plans to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% on aluminium next week.

The European Union is reported to be considering retaliatory tariffs, targeting US steel, agriculture and other products.

A chart shows the top steel importers to US: Canada, EU, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, China, Russia, Turkey

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker promised to react firmly.

“We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk,” he said.

Speaking to a German TV programme, he vowed: “We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levi’s.

French economy minister Bruno Le Maire said there would “only be losers” in a US-EU trade war.

Mr Le Maire vowed a “strong, co-ordinated and united response from the EU”.