The latest encounter at the OECD meeting in Paris between Wilbur Ross, US secretary of commerce, and Cecilia Malmstrom, EU trade commissioner, has ended without a clear outcome. The politicians had been seeking a solution on the ongoing dispute regarding the new 25% tariffs for EU steel imports into the US, set to become effective at the end of this week.
Speaking at the meeting, Ross explained that negotiations could continue also once the tariffs have been imposed, as it is in the case of China.
The EU has prepared some retaliatory measures set to come into force on 20 June, should the US confirm permanent tariffs for Europe at the end of this week. These measures include also reinstating import duties for some steel products (see Kallanish passim).
Earlier this week commissioner Malmstrom confirmed that hopes for a permanent exemption from the tariffs for the EU were fading. She also explained that if any exemption was granted it would be linked to the imposition of limits to the volumes that would be allowed to be imported in the US market. “Realistically, if the US decides to refrain from applying duties I expect them nonetheless to want to impose some sort of cap on EU exports,” she said.
Market sources have suggested that the expectation is for the US to impose some sort of quotas for European exports, similar to those agreed with other countries such as Brazil and South Korea.