European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker warned President Trump that Europe will respond to his tariffs with reciprocal measures, blasting the U.S. tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum as “stupid.”
In a statement to The Economist, Juncker said that “we can also do stupid,” seemingly warning that the European Union (EU) could pass trade measures designed to hurt the U.S. economy.
Juncker’s comments come days after a report that the EU was considering a list of retaliatory tariffs targeting $3.5 billion worth of American goods, including exports from well-known American companies like Levi-Strauss blue jeans, Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon whiskey.
Trump announced Thursday that his administration was officially implementing tariffs targeting steel and aluminum imports in an effort to save America’s faltering steel industry, a major campaign promise that drew praise from union groups such as the AFL-CIO but harsh criticism from House and Senate Republicans.
France’s economic minister Bruno Le Maire said this week that European officials would respond to Trump’s tariffs, from which the White House announced Thursday it would allow any country to seek an exemption. The EU is also hoping Trump will simply grant the trading bloc an exemption, according to reports.
“France regrets announcements of @realDonaldTrump on steel & aluminum tariffs. There are only losers in trade war,” Le Maire tweeted Thursday.
“With our EU partners, we will assess consequences on our industries and agree appropriate response,” he added.
The EU is one of the largest sources of U.S. steel imports and a major market for American products. EU officials say an exemption for one member state must mean an exemption for the entire bloc.
“If they try to make an exemption for one of our member states, it means the EU as a whole,” European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen said Thursday.