The European Commission is introducing definitive safeguard measures on steel imports that will enter into force starting 2 February. The measures, which will replace the provisional ones in place since July 2018, target a list of 26 steel product categories in response to the decision by the United States to impose tariffs on steel imports.
They will remain in place for a period of three years, including an introductory period for the provisional measures, expiring on 16 July 2021.
To ensure compliance with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EU sent it a notification on the safeguard decision on 4 January.
Last week, European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom told Sputnik that the Commission expected to receive a mandate for trade negotiations with Washington on behalf of the EU to abolish duties on manufactured goods in the first half of this year.
This will be done within the framework of implementing July 2018 agreements between US President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. At the time, the two agreed to negotiate "zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods".
Trade disagreements between the US and the EU intensified after Trump announced 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent on aluminium imports from the bloc and a handful of other countries in March 2018.
The EU filed a complaint with the WTO over US tariffs, which affected $7.3 billion worth of metal imports from the union, and imposed duties on $3.3 billion worth of US products, including steel, food staples, agricultural goods, vessels and clothing.
Although Trump said in July he would refrain from slapping new tariffs on EU goods, he has repeatedly threatened to hit the bloc with 25 percent tariffs on cars.