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EU ‘not at war with anyone’ on trade but will protect its interests

Tehran,EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Friday the European Union will protect its interests and pledged proportionate measures to Washington's introduction of tariffs.

The tensions between the United States and its European allies have been on the rise as Trump administration announced it will slap new tariffs on steel and aluminum produced by three of the country's biggest trading partners - Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, all of which vowed to retaliate.

She went on to stress that the bloc 'is not at war with anyone' on trade, referring to the EU intention to further engage in negotiations on trade issues.

'This doesn't mean the United States is not our closest partner and friend. Allies they (will) stay,' she pointed out.

The EU has staged its protest after Washington announced it was imposing metal tariffs on the European Union member states as well as Canada and Mexico. The bloc immediately responded to the US move, stating it would proceed with a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute and would impose additional duties on US imports.

However, US Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross assured that the EU's retaliation for the introduction of metal tariffs was unlikely to have much impact on the US economy.

The US move caused fierce opposition not only from the European partners but from Canada and Mexico as well, with both countries promising tit-for-tat duties on the US imports.

The threat of a full-scale trade war loomed between the transatlantic partners after US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation removing an exemption from metal tariffs of the European Union, Mexico and Canada as of June 1.

Trade tensions between Washington and Brussels have been mounting since March when Trump introduced a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. At that time, though, a number of countries, including the EU member states, were exempted first until May 1 and then for one more month until June 1.

The US president's decision to delay imposing higher duties for the EU, Canada and Mexico until June 1 gave the bloc hope for the EU's permanent exemption, as the bloc's leaders have repeatedly criticized the tariffs as an act of protectionism by the US administration.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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