The European Commission takes note of the decision of the United States to prolong the European Union's exemption from import tariffs on steel and aluminium for a short period of time, until 1st June 2018.
The US decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions. The EU should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security.
Overcapacity in the steel and aluminium sectors does not originate in the EU. On the contrary, the EU has over the past months engaged at all possible levels with the US and other partners to find a solution to this issue.
The EU has also consistently indicated its willingness to discuss current market access issues of interest to both sides, but has also made clear that, as a longstanding partner and friend of the US, we will not negotiate under threat. Any future transatlantic work programme has to be balanced and mutually beneficial.
European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström has been in contact with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer over the past weeks, and these discussions will continue.