European Union to impose duties on USA imports Friday after Trump tariffs

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White House downplays China trade tensions as ‘dispute

The European Commission on Wednesday gave permission for a 25% duty on USA imports covering a range of products, including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levi Strauss jeans, US -made playing cards, and bourbon whiskey, reports Bloomberg.

The tariffs, which come as a direct reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to hit the European Union with tariffs on steel and aluminum, will apply from Friday, the Commission said in a press release.

"We do not want to be in this position", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement, adding that the "unilateral and unjustified" USA decision had left the EU with no choice.

The Commission formally adopted a law putting in place the duties on 2.8 billion euros ($3.2 billion) worth of USA goods, including steel and aluminum products, farm produce such as sweetcorn and peanuts, bourbon, jeans and motor-bikes.

The products affected by the move range from agricultural produce such as rice and orange juice to jeans, bourbon, motorbikes and various steel products.

The commission formally adopted the new tariffs, allowing them to come into effect on June 22.

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"We did not want to be in this position", EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said in a statement.

She said that the response is proportionate and in line with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and that if the US drops the metals tariffs the European Union will follow suit.

Mexico has announced it will, in response, impose tariffs on United States imports, including pork bellies, apples, grapes, cheeses and flat steel, among other products.

The European Union will slap U.S. products with a series of retaliatory tariffs from Friday, it confirmed this morning.

The tariffs will hit $3.2 billion in USA imports to the European Union.

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