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EU, Japan notify WTO of retaliatory measures against US metal tariffs

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Japan and the European Union have notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) that they are ready to implement an array of retaliatory measures against Washington in response to tariffs on steel and aluminum imports imposed by US President Donald Trump on Tokyo and the European bloc.

“We plan to decide appropriately, considering the impact on Japanese companies as well as related US measures,” the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday. However, it stopped short of indicating when Tokyo might take action.

The statement also said that the WTO had been informed that Japan had the right to implement tariffs on American goods worth 50 billion yen ($451 million), which would be the equivalent value to duties quite recently imposed by Washington on Japanese metal products.

Tokyo has not yet lodged an official complaint with the intergovernmental organization, but it is gesturing that it could impose the counter-measures if it does not obtain the tariff exemptions it has been seeking from the US.

For its part, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has already prepared a list of American products, including peanut butter, motorcycles and denim jeans, which could get extra import duties.

On March 8, the US president caused fear when he decided to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports, primarily to target China, but also allies, including EU countries as well as Japan.

Trump argued at the time that enormous flows of imports to the US were putting in jeopardy the American national security, making an odd departure from a decades-long US-led move towards open and free trade.

In an attempt to prevent a possible trade war, the WTO’s director-general, Roberto Azevedo, called on Trump not to impose hefty tariffs on aluminum and steel exports, saying it could spark a deep global recession.

“An eye for an eye will leave us all blind, and the world in deep recession,” he told members of his organization on March 7, adding, “We must make every effort to avoid the fall of the first dominoes.”

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