EU's Malmstrom says tariffs not way to solve overcapacity in steel sector

President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker said Friday

No exemptions on US steel tariffs so far for EU, Japan; Australia appears set for reprieve

Malmstrom said Friday in Brussels, "We hope that we can get confirmation that the European Union is excluded from this".

The EU's Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has met with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer amid efforts for the European Union to secure an exemption from steel and aluminium imports imposed by US President Donald Trump.

On the other hand, Brazil's Acting Trade Minister, Marcos Jorge, said that his office is setting up a plan "to exclude Brazil from this measure".

Trump imposed the tariffs despite pleas from friends and allies who warned the new measure could ignite a trade war.

"It's clear. We need clarity", European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said on Friday.

After ongoing discussions between the two nations, both leaders confirmed the exemption via social media on Saturday morning. "We trust and hope that the United Kingdom government will support such measures in due course", said its director Gareth Stace.

The EU and Japan past year formally agreed the broad outlines of a landmark trade deal that was announced as a direct challenge to the protectionism championed by Trump.

The European Union expects to be excluded from US steel and aluminum tariffs but will go to the World Trade Organization to impose its own measures if Washington presses ahead, EU officials said yesterday.

This shed some light on the tycoon's specific barbs against Germany - the biggest economy in the European Union - that have finger-pointed Berlin for contributing much less than the United States towards the funding of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The EU is arguing that it has a long-standing security alliance with the U.S. and is co-operating to address the issue of overcapacity in the steel sector.

Malmstrom won support from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. European steel producers are concerned about a loss of market access, but also that steel from elsewhere will flood in.

The target of Trump's ire is China, whose capacity expansions have helped add to global surpluses of steel.

Beijing vowed to "firmly defend its legitimate rights and interests".

"This is not a trade negotiation". Trump has championed coal exports as demand from power firms at home weakens.

South Korea, the third-largest steel exporter to the United States and a strategic ally on the Korean peninsula, called for calm. "The outcome will only be harmful", he told reporters on the sidelines of an annual meeting of China's parliament.

While carrying a message to Washington to push forward a diplomatic breakthrough over North Korea, South Korea's national security office chief Chung Eui-yong asked USA officials to support Seoul's request for a waiver, a presidential spokesman said.

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