00:06 GMT +320 August 2018
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    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, right, talks to U.S. President Donald Trump, left, prior to a working session at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, Saturday, July 8, 2017

    Juncker Slams Trump's Trade 'Provocations', Warns Against Attempts to Divide EU

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    The transatlantic relationship between the US and Europe been seriously strained in recent weeks amid an escalating trade conflict between the US and European countries.

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has announced temporary protective measures on the import of 23 categories of steel products into the EU, justifying the move by citing the consequences of US tariffs on European steel and aluminum introduced last month.

    "We will continue to respond in a tit-for-tat manner to those provocations which may be introduced against us," Juncker said, speaking to reporters in Brussels on Wednesday.

    The official stressed that he "would like to make clear to the president of the United States" that "when it comes to trade, the EU forms an indivisible unit." 

    "So all efforts to divide Europeans are in vain," Juncker added.

    The EU's so-called interim measures on 23 steel products include a 25 percent tariff on imports higher than the average over the past three years. The measures will step into effect Thursday and remain in place for up to 200 days.

    In March, President Trump introduced 25 percent import duties on steel and 10 percent duties on aluminum. Exemptions for the European Union, Canada and Mexico were scrapped in June, prompting Western allies to respond with billions in trade restrictions on US goods. Brussels slapped billions of dollars worth of tariffs on US jeans, motorcycles and whiskey. President Trump threatened to strike back with a 20 percent tariff on European cars. US-EU relations have also suffered amid Washington's threats against European companies doing business with Tehran following the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

    Juncker will visit Washington on July 25 to try to resolve the widening trade dispute. "It seems to me all these efforts to have bilateral ties, which must take place between our partners and the commission and therefore the EU, must be better explained," he said Wednesday. "I go there calmly," he stressed.

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    Tags:
    steel tariffs, trade conflict, trade war, tariffs, trade, Donald Trump, Jean-Claude Juncker, Europe, United States
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