Trump says commerce secretary will talk tariffs with EU

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Monday his commerce secretary will talk to the European Union about tariffs Trump argues have been unfair to the United States.

Trump wrote on Twitter: “Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross will be speaking with representatives of the European Union about eliminating the large Tariffs and Barriers they use against the U.S.A. Not fair to our farmers and manufacturers.”

The president announced last week that the United States would impose heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, with some countries potentially exempted. Amid fears of a global trade war, the 28-member European Union is among those seeking exemptions.

The Commerce Department did not respond immediately to a request for information about any planned meetings between Ross and EU officials.

Asked about Trump’s tweet, the EU in a statement said that “no further meetings as such are planned at the moment.”

U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer met Saturday with European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem to discuss the tariffs and the exemption procedures. Malmstroem said she got “no immediate clarity on the exact U.S. procedure.”

Over the weekend, Trump argued that the U.S. has been abused economically by the EU, saying they were “wonderful countries who treat the U.S. very badly on trade.”

According to an EU statement, the average EU tariff is 3 percent, not much more than the United States’ average 2.4 percent. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on cars, versus America’s 2.5 percent.

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