EU executive to discuss reaction to U.S. tariffs on Wednesday

FILE PHOTO: European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas attends a press conference at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Commissioners will discuss on Wednesday the EU’s reaction to planned U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminum, the Commission said on Monday, adding that the root cause of problems for those metal sectors was overcapacity.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced last Thursday that the United States would impose duties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

“The subject, the file, will be on the college agenda on Wednesday when Commissioners will discuss our reaction, which will be swift, firm and proportionate,” Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a news briefing on Monday.

Schinas said the EU view was that it could not bury its head in the sand and needed to do what was necessary to defend its interests.

“It is not about escalating anything. The root cause of problems in the steel and aluminum sectors lies in global overcapacity. This can only be addressed at the source by working with key countries involved. The EU is of course available to continue working on this with the United States.”

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek