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EU, India file retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods

The planned tariffs on more than $7 billion in exports from the United States are in response to recently announced U.S. duties on steel and aluminum.

   The European Union and India have filed separate lists of planned tariffs with the World Trade Organization that would target more than $7 billion in annual exports from the United States.
   The move is a direct response to recently announced of 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum, as both the EU and India seek to recoup the expected revenue that will be lost upon imposition of those tariffs by the United States.
   The EU, which has been outspoken in its opposition to the U.S. tariffs since President Donald Trump announced them in early March, said the U.S. measures would affect at least $7.2 billion in imports of steel and aluminum products from the bloc into the United States and, therefore, would constitute an addition $1.6 million in duties based on 2017 figures.
   Trump earlier this month delayed the imposition of those tariffs for the EU and other key U.S. allies for an additional, “final” 30 days in order to continue negotiating deals that could see those countries exempted entirely.
   Should those talks fail, however, the EU’s proposed list included hundreds of items pegged for potential tariffs ranging from corn and rice to whiskey and cigarettes. Somewhat ironically, certain products made in the U.S. from imported raw steel and aluminum were also included in the list.
   India, on the other hand, said those same tariffs would affect $849 million in annual imports, amounting to $165 million — $31 million on aluminum and $134 million on steel — in lost revenues, and would seek retaliatory measures in the same amount. The list of U.S. exports slated to receive additional duties consisted primarily of agricultural products like peas, nuts, coffee and soya oil, as well as certain motor vehicles, among other goods.
   Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said at a recent summit of EU leaders in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia the bloc is still seeking an “unlimited exemption” from the proposed U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.
   “If Europe obtains an unlimited exemption from the proposed tariff measures we are ready to engage in talks with our transatlantic partner, focusing on four specific points,” he said. “Firstly, deepening our energy cooperation, notably on liquefied natural gas. Secondly, focusing on voluntary cooperation between regulators on both sides on an ad hoc basis, outside the framework of trade negotiations. Thirdly, working together with the U.S. on the World Trade Organization reform to ensure a level playing field for all and to lift the current blockage of the WTO’s Appellate Body nominations. And lastly, discussing with the U.S. how to best improve reciprocal market access, notably for industrial products including, amongst others, cars as well as the liberalization of government procurement.
   “These talks will be based on the principles of reciprocity and WTO compatibility,” added Juncker. “We will not negotiate with the Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.”
   The filing of proposed tariff lists with the WTO is largely seen as a warning shot, a signal to the United States that tariffs and trade wars will have consequences for all involved and that parties are better off coming to the table to negotiate agreements that avoid any escalation of duties and subsequent retaliatory measures.