March 9, 2018 / 8:59 AM / 9 months ago

EU's Malmstrom says tariffs not way to solve overcapacity in steel sector

European Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom holds a news conference in Brussels, Belgium March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union does not believe tariffs are a solution to the problem of overcapacity in the steel sector and stands ready to go to the World Trade Organisation if necessary, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said on Friday.

“This is not the right way to deal with it,” Malmstrom told an event hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Brussels.

Malmstrom said she still believed a solution could be found but added she was prepared to take action at the World Trade Organisation if the U.S. extended the tariffs to EU producers.

“We have been very clear that this is not in compliance with the WTO, so we will go to the WTO, possibly with some other friends. We will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures, safeguard,” she added when asked if she would consider taking the dispute to the international trade regulator.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday pressed ahead with import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent for aluminum but exempted Canada and Mexico and offered the possibility of excluding other allies, backtracking from an earlier “no-exceptions” stance.

Reporting by Robin Emmott, writing by Robert-Jan Bartunek

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