As the White House prepared to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, a divide is opening up between the European Union and Germany about how to respond. While the EU has angrily threatened reciprocal taxes on US goods, Berlin is urging the EU to de-escalate the conflict before it gets out of hand.
US Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin left no doubt Wednesday that the tariffs were imminent. “We are definitely going to end up with these tariffs, and we’re going to roll these out very, very quickly,” he said in a television interview. The Wall Street Journal reported that White House aides were drafting a presidential proclamation on the tariff question and that it was likely to be issued on Thursday.
In Brussels, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said that peanut butter, orange juice, bourbon were on a long list of US exports that the European Union will tax in response to steel tariffs in Washington. While she said Europe did not want a trade war with the US, it was now a question of “protecting our economy and our workers from serious threats.”