European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker got right to the point about President Trump’s tariffs on aluminum and steel. He called the 25 percent tariff on steel and the 10 percent tariff on aluminum “stupid,” and warned that Europe will respond with reciprocal measures.
In a statement to “The Economist,” Juncker said “we can also do stupid,” seemingly warning that the European Union (EU) could pass trade measures designed to inflict damage to the U.S. economy.
These comments come days after a report that the EU was considering a number of retaliatory tariffs that would target $3.5 billion worth of American goods. Some of the companies on the list were Levi-Strauss blue jeans, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and Kentucky bourbon whiskey.
On Thursday, Trump announced that his administration was officially implementing the tariffs in an effort to save America’s declining steel industry. This was a major campaign promise from Trump and it drew praise from union groups like the AFL-CIO, but harsh criticism from House and Senate Republicans.
Juncker was not alone in his warnings, France’s economic minister Bruno Le Maire said that European officials would respond to Trump’s tariffs.
“France regrets announcements of @realDonaldTrump on steel & aluminum tariffs. There are only losers in trade war,” Le Maire tweeted Thursday.
“With our EU partners, we will assess consequences on our industries and agree appropriate response,” he added.
The EU is one of the largest sources of U.S. steel imports and a major market for American products. Because the White House also announced on Thursday that it would allow any country to seek an exemption, the EU is hoping that Trump will simply grant the whole trading bloc an exemption.
“If they try to make an exemption for one of our member states, it means the EU as a whole,” European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said Thursday.
Credit: The Hill