May 15, 2018 / 11:20 AM / 6 days ago

EU seeks better U.S. trade ties, but not as tariff concession: EU's Katainen

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is interested in improving its trade ties with the United States but it will not make concessions to secure an exemption from U.S. metals tariffs and would need to consult its 28 members, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen looks on during a news conference on the launch of VentureEU, a Pan-European Venture Capital Funds-of-Funds programme in Brussels, Belgium, April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

“We are open for improving our trade relations... but it’s not a concession in order to get a permanent exemption from higher steel and aluminium tariffs,” Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen told a news conference.

Washington has been granted the EU a temporary exemption from import tariffs on steel and aluminium until June 1.

“There’s no reason for those tariffs... It wouldn’t be logical to give up under pressure that is unjustified. We don’t negotiate under any kind of threat,” Katainen said.

He said that the EU remained interested in improving trade relations with the U.S. but “before entering any kind of negotiations, if it ever happens, we have to get support from the EU member states and that’s another question,” he told a news conference.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Francesco Guarascio

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