Jakarta -EU leaders are on standby on Thursday (22/3/2018) while waiting for an answer from Washington regarding the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs. US President Donald Trump had decided to grant an exception to the European Union, but the Blue Continent is still awaiting official confirmation from the White House.
US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer has conveyed to the US Senate committee that Trump exempts import tariffs of steel and aluminum to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Europe.
The statement has brought the leaders of the Blue Continent gathered in Brussels, Belgium, to extend a high-level meeting in the transatlantic trade tension talks.
A senior EU official described Lighthizer’s announcement as “welcome”.
“[The announcement] is in line with our expectations. But, we still will wait whether it has been officially confirmed, “he said as quoted by Reuters on Friday (23/3/2018).
The exclusion of import tariffs, if confirmed, shows the success of the EU Trade Commission Cecilia Malmstrom who visited Washington for a discussion with Lighthizer and US Commerce Minister Wilbur Ross.
Malmstrom said in a briefing of EU ambassadors and the European Parliament on Thursday (22/3/2018) that he was getting an indication of progress from the EU good faith to achieve a trade war prevention solution.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said that Europe has shown unity in supporting free trade and refusing protectionism.
French President Emmanuel Macron hopes the final announcement of the imposition of US import tariffs can be received no later than Friday (23/3/2018) night Brussels time.
“My hope is that we can maintain good international trade rules for all parties. That way, international trade policy makers can feel valued, “he said.
Meanwhile, the US is scheduled to impose tariffs on steel imports by 25% and aluminum by 10% per Friday (23/3/2018).
Meanwhile, the European Commission has also decided if the import tariffs are still imposed for the Blue Continent, then they will file a complaint to the International Trade Organization (WTO). The move comes as fears of a flood of metal supplies to the EU and consideration of applying repatriation tariffs to balance the EU-US trade.
In addition to anticipating the tariff, the EU leaders meeting also talked about the digital tax that will be charged to technology giant Uncle Sam’s origin.
The European Commission has submitted a proposal on Wednesday (21/3/2018) to regulate US technology companies pay higher taxes. Targeted companies include Google, Facebook and Amazon, with potential tax levies reaching 5 billion euros ($ 6.1 billion).
EU Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici expressed his reasons for targeting the technology giant to enrich the Blue Continent coffers, so that France, Germany, Italy, Britain and Spain were the countries that supported the proposal.
Meanwhile, smaller nations, such as Ireland and Luxembourg, have expressed concerns that the tax proposal will reduce their appeal to multinationals.
They argue that the tax rules will only provide revenues for the major EU countries instead of increasing income equally. across the Blue Continent.