U.S. trade envoy Ross says up to EU whether there is escalation on tariffs: Le Figaro

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testifies before a Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee holds a hearing on the FY2019 funding request and budget justification for the Commerce Department on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

PARIS (Reuters) - Washington does not want a trade war with the European Union, but whether there is an escalation or not will depend on the EU, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in an interview published by daily Le Figaro on Thursday.

A U.S. decision on import tariffs on EU steel and aluminum will be announced on Thursday either before markets open or after markets close, he said.

“We don’t want a trade war,” Ross was quoted as saying.

“(It’s) up to the European Union to decide if it wants to take retaliatory measures. The next question would be: how will the (U.S President Donald) Trump react? You saw his reaction when China decided to retaliate.

“If there is an escalation it will be because the EU would have decided to retaliate,” he added.

Reporting by Ingrid Melander; editing by John Stonestreet