Washington and the European Union are looking for a “reasonable solution” in the dispute over US defense laws – a statement issued Wednesday evening by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Cecilia Malmström, EU Trade Commissioner.
Cecilia Malmström has been negotiating in Washington Wednesday for a hopeful resolution of the conflict over the American defense laws on steel and aluminum. Customs action by US President Donald Trump should take effect on Friday, and the European Union, like Canada and Mexico, would like to receive an exemption.
“We have agreed to start an immediate meeting with President Trump and the Trump government in commercial matters that concern us, including steel and aluminum, in order to find a mutually acceptable quick solution”, reads the joint announcement.
On March 8, the US president announced that he would call a 25% defense margin for steel and a 10% duty on aluminum products, claiming to protect the US industry and guarantee US national security. His decision also protested in the European Union.
Trump, however, has exempted Canada and Mexico from customs duties and authorized Wilbur Ross, Minister of Commerce, to enter into negotiations with other countries about possible duty exemption. Cecilia Malmström wanted to achieve freedom of the European Union as a whole in Washington. The EU Commissioner also discussed Wednesday with Robert Lighthizer, an American trade negotiator.
On Monday and Tuesday, he also met with Peter Altmaier, German economic minister, who also called for a compromise between the United States and the European Union. France’s colleague, Bruno Le Maire, during the meeting of the finance ministers of the G-20 group in Buenos Aires, said that Paris demanded “unconditional” exemption from US defense patrols.