Romania belongs to those EU countries that will be considerably affected by the U.S. duties on steel and aluminium imports from the EU, declared MEP Iuliu WINKLER, Vice-Chair of the Committee on International Trade (INTA) in the European Parliament, in a press conference in Deva, on Monday.
According to the RMDSZ MEP, in 2017, Romania´s metallurgical exports for the U.S. market have reached approx. 120.000 tons of steel products, primarily seamless pipes, worth approx. 160 million euros. The steel exports to the U.S. market account for approx. 3.2% of Romania´s total metallurgical exports. “Romania also exported to the U.S. approx. 4.000 tons of special aluminium alloys, with a rough value of 15 million euros” said Winkler. This represents around 7% from the total exports of special aluminium alloys to the U.S. market.
“By imposing these duties, the U.S. is endangering, only in Romania, thousands of jobs”, affirmed the INTA Vice-Chair.
He added that while the EU is not looking for a trade war with the United States, it remains however categorical on defending its citizens and its industries. “In principle, the introduction of duties by the U.S. for steel and aluminium products will enter into application on the night between the 22nd and 23rd of March. (...) the EU is not seeking a trade war with the United States, from which all will lose; yet, the Commission has already proposed some countermeasures, drawing up a list of the American products to which the EU duties would apply. This is a list with some 500 tariff lines, meaning 500 groups of products covering from agricultural and food products, to technological and industrial products, which amount to an estimated value of 6.4 billion euros”, highlighted the MEP. He stressed that the World Trade Organization (WTO) has already been notified, given that the EU wishes “to play by international rules”. Winkler moreover considers that the EU, an important strategic partner of the U.S. and key security partner within NATO, is indeed justified to be given an exemption from the duties, similar to the cases of Mexico and Canada, the U.S.´ NAFTA partners.
It was further emphasized that one key reason for this development is the Chinese steel overcapacity, which brought significant distortions on the global market. “This is a crisis that lasts for several years, yet, the measures proposed by President Donald Trump do not represent an optimal solution. (...) We will all end up losing; EU Member States and their economies, as well as the U.S. citizens and the American economy. (...) Such a measure by the U.S. to introduce these duties will produce chaos, possibly leading to a trade war, while certainly not fulfilling the initial aim of defending the American industry and economy, one of President Trump´s key electoral promises made to the U.S. citizens”, highlighted the INTA Vice-Chair.
Iuliu Winkler also conveyed that states such as Turkey, Ukraine or Russia, large producers of steel, could see their products rerouted towards the EU, should the United States indeed introduce customs duties in this sector.