Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump’s administration is likely to hit the European Union with steep steel and aluminum tariffs.
Over the past couple months, EU trade officials have been trying to reach an agreement to prevent the tariffs and earn an exemption for the 28-nation bloc.
Those efforts have failed, however, as the U.S. plans to slap the heavy tariffs on a major ally.
President Trump announced in March that, for national security reasons, the U.S. would impose tariffs of ten percent on imported aluminum and 25 percent on steel.
The White House extended the deadline until Friday for many countries, like the EU, Brazil and Argentina, to make deals on their aluminum and steel imports before the tariffs go into effect.
Wilbur Ross, Commerce Secretary, delivered a harsh message Wednesday during Paris’s annual trade forum for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, declaring negotiations can go on even while the tariffs are in place.
Ross said, “There can be negotiations with or without tariffs, it’s not that you can’t talk with tariffs,” according to the Financial Times.
“China is an interesting case in point. They are paying the tariffs; they came into effect in March and they haven’t used this as an excuse not to talk. It’s only the EU insisting we can’t negotiate if there are tariffs.”
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, and Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, both lobbied Trump for a waiver while visiting the White House recently.
If Trump keeps going, the EU will probably fight back next month with promised 3.3 billion dollars of tariffs on classic American products like jeans, bourbon, and motorcycles.
The Journal said the White House could release an announcement on Thursday at the earliest.
Earlier that day, the EU’s American Chamber of Commerce asked for a permanent exemption from Trump from all metals tariffs because of the importance of the economic relationship.
“The EU is America’s staunchest ally, not a U.S. national security threat,” the Chamber Tweeted.