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Trump presses EU on trade barriers in tit-for-tat

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13th-Mar-2018       
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AFP, Washington :
President Donald Trump renewed his demand Saturday that the European Union halts its trade barriers to US products in order to spare his allies new steel and aluminum tariffs.
The American president made his comments after crunch talks in Brussels between EU negotiators and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in an effort to defuse a bitter row that many fear could turn into an all-out trade war.
The EU's top trade official said the US failed to provide full clarity on how Europe and Japan could be spared set to continue next week.
"The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the U.S. very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum," Trump said.
"If they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on U.S. products going in, we will likewise drop ours. Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!"
President Donald Trump's announcement of duties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum has stung the European Union, along with other major partners including Japan, whose Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko also attended the talks in Brussels.
"As long-standing security partners of the United States, (the EU and Japan) underlined to ambassador Lighthizer their expectation that EU and Japanese exports to the US would be exempted from the application of higher tariffs," an EU statement said after the talks.
But after two-way talks with Lighthizer, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem tweeted: "No immediate clarity on the exact US procedure for exemption however, so discussions will continue next week."
Brussels has gone the furthest in fighting back against
Washington's shock measures, loudly announcing a list of US products to hit with countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs.
In announcing the measures, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker taunted Trump, saying the EU could match "stupid with stupid."
Lighthizer, a loyalist to Trump's "America First" mantra, made no official comment after the talks, but the three sides did agree on a series of next steps to address the oversupply worldwide of steel and other materials, mainly by China.

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