Europe stresses that a trade war is not the answer to US trade tariffs
Pierre Moscovici (L), the European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs and French Finance minister Bruno Le Maire (R) during European Finance Ministers' meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Mar 13, 2018. EFE-EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
President of the Eurogroup, Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno (L) and Finnish Finance Minister Petteri Orpo (R) during European Finance Ministers' meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Mar 13, 2018. EFE-EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
Spanish Economy, Industry and Competitiveness Minister, Roman Escolano (L) and European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer (R) during European Finance Ministers' meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Mar 13, 2018. EFE- EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
(L-R) President of the Eurogroup, Portuguese Finance Minister Mario Centeno, French Finance minister Bruno Le Maire, German state secretary Jens Spahn and Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra during European Finance Ministers' meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Mar 13, 2018. EFE-EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET
Brussels, Mar 13.-(efe-epa).- The European Union's commissioner for economic and financial affairs said Tuesday that a trade war was not a solution to the United States imposing trade tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.
Pierre Moscovici spoke ahead of an Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting in Brussels where US President Donald Trump's decision, signed Thursday, to levy a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and another 10 percent on aluminum has been labeled as a move likely to trigger a trade war.
"We shouldn´t escalate; war is never a solution, but we are ready to answer if necessary," Moscovici said.
On the other hand, European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said that if the US imposed unilateral tariffs against the EU, "it must react in a proportionate but firm manner."
Trump had justified tariffs as "vital" for US national security.
Dombrovskis said the EU was prepared to counter what he described as Washington's protectionist tariff measures.
France's Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, said a European response was necessary after Trump's announcement.
Le Maire added he would support the Commission's proposals whether they may be "countermeasures" or other options.
"Once again I would like to insist that we want to avoid a kind of trade war between the EU and the US, but we have to respond."
The Bulgarian Minister of Finance, Vladislav Goranov, whose country currently occupies the rotating presidency of the EU Council, called for a "deep" discussion because it was never a good idea to over-react."
The EU is currently in contact with US officials to seek a European exemption to tariffs.