BCN-43 France warns against ‘gunfight at O.K. Corral’ over steel tariffs

ZCZC

BCN-43

EU-US-TRADE-FRANCE

France warns against ‘gunfight at O.K. Corral’ over steel tariffs

PARIS, May 31, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – “World trade is not a gunfight at the O.K.
Corral,” French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Thursday, warning that
the EU would take “all necessary measures” if, as expected, the US imposes
tariffs on metal imports.

Tensions are running high between the US and Europe ahead of a Friday
deadline for President Donald Trump to decide whether to extend EU exemptions
from punishing import tariffs on steel and aluminium.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump was preparing to brush aside EU
entreaties to be spared from the tariffs in an announcement that could come
as early as Thursday.

Le Maire, who met Thursday in Paris with US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross,
compared the transatlantic trade battle that would be unleashed by such a
decision to a showdown described in the 1957 western “Gunfight at the O.K.
Corral”.

“It’s not everyone attacking the other and we see who remains standing at
the end,” he said, declaring that stiff taxes on imports from Europe, the
single-largest source of US steel imports, would be “unjustified,
unjustifiable and dangerous”.

France and Germany were working with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia
Malmstrom on “taking all the measures necessary” to defend the EU’s interests
in the event of such a move, he added.

Le Maire did not say what kind of retaliatory measures the EU would take
but said they were “ready.”

European leaders have indicated they could respond with duties of their own
on American imports, including iconic items such as Harley-Davidson
motorcycles, Levi’s jeans and bourbon whiskey.

Le Maire’s comments come after weeks of intense EU lobbying to be spared
from duties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminium
imposed by Trump in early March.

But officials have indicated they see little chance that Trump will
continue exempting EU companies.

BSS/AFP/SR/1700 HRS