PARIS, May 31 (Xinhua) — French Finance Minister Bruno le Maire on Thursday warned Washington that European countries will take all necessary and firm measures if it imposes tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe.
“It will be the responsibility of the United States alone if they will increase steel tariffs without any justification, any reason as overcapacity in steel and aluminum does not come from Europe,” Le Maire said after meeting U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in Paris.
The French minister reiterated that U.S. tariffs on European metals would be dangerous for global free trade.
“I reminded U.S. secretary of trade this morning that we Europeans will respond with a united, appropriate and firm way,” he stressed.
Despite opposition from business groups and trading partners around the world, U.S. President Donald Trump in March decided to impose a 25-percent tariff on imported steel and 10-percent on aluminum.
He has granted the European Union a temporary exemption from these tariffs which will expire on Friday.
“It’s entirely up to U.S. authorities whether they want to enter into a trade conflict with their biggest partner, Europe,” Le Maire said.
“We are open to negotiation, but we don’t accept to negotiate under pressure,” he added, expressing readiness to discuss with “American friends” on ways to rebuild multilateralism.