European Union complains of Trump's "gun to our head" over tariffs


The conditions that have allowed that exemption are still unclear, but it is speculated that Trump asks for voluntary export restrictions on steel and aluminum, claim that Europe harden its relationship with China and approve increases in military spending.

U.S. President Donald Trump will not apply new steel and aluminum tariffs to the European Union and other trading partners which are now negotiating exemptions, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Thursday.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a Senate committee that Trump authorized a "pause" in the imposition of the tariffs, which take effect Friday, AFP reported.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea will also be exempt from the penalties of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum, along with the European Union, he said.

"I have the impression that the United States leader wants to negotiate with the European Union by putting a gun to our head", Michel said as he arrived at the EU summit.

The news came after two days of intensive talks between the United States and EU. EU President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the bloc's response would be "responsible and reasonable".

European Parliament president Atonio Tajani said the news was a "in the right direction".

"Companies engaged in digital activities, like all other companies, must share the tax burden needed to finance the public services on which they rely", the commission said in its communication prior to the European Union leaders' summit that begins on Thursday. Malmström and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Wednesday they were launching "immediately a process of discussion ... on trade issues of common concern".

Latvia has already said it will make expulsions, EU President Donald Tusk said more steps were expected as early as Monday and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said further coordinated actions were "necessary" to respond to the attack. We're expecting to see resistance to come from the industry and individual member states that have taxation ideas of their own.

The European Commission said it wanted an interim 3% levy on digital sales revenue of the biggest firms such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon - those with annual global revenues of at least £658m and EU revenues of £44m.

"We have made it clear that we do not want a trade war".

The EU's trade chief demanded that the United States drop "artificial deadlines" and her boss, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said it was impossible to reach agreement by May 1.

The commission however has drawn up a list of potential counter-measures, including tariffs on peanut butter and Harley Davidson motorcycles, in case Trump follows through.

Malmstrom said the May 1 deadline could be a way to apply pressure to talks with NAFTA countries Canada and Mexico and with South Korea on updating their free trade deals, but that no one was proposing to revive stalled EU-U.S. free trade talks.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier stressed in Berlin that "fighting until the last minute is worth it", with Germany especially anxious about its auto industry.