Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will speak with representatives of the European Union about eliminating tariffs on U.S. imports, President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Monday morning.
Ross’ discussions come after Trump signed an executive order last week imposing tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. The tariffs will not apply to U.S. NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico, and Trump has said other nations can potentially negotiate exemptions. The EU trading bloc is seeking exemption from the tariffs.
The president has said he favors fair and balanced trade partnerships and has floated the idea of reciprocal tariffs, which would tax other countries’ imports at levels similar to what U.S. exports face. Over the weekend, he said in a tweet that the EU could potentially be exempt from the steel and aluminum duties “if they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on U.S. products going in … If not, we Tax Cars etc.”
The Trump administration’s decision to impose tariffs against steel and aluminum imports has sparked backlash not only internationally but also from within the GOP. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he disagrees with the move, and other congressional Republicans are hoping to block the duties with legislative action. Some believe the tariffs could spark a trade war.
Gary Cohn resigned from his position as national economic director at the White House in the wake of the tariff announcement.