EU’s Counter-tariffs Against United States Come into Effect on Friday
U.S. has started imposing tariffs on imports that threatens to start a global trade war. (Photo: pixabay)

A raft of retaliatory tariffs from the European Union against duties imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump on steel and aluminium imports will come into effect on Friday, a top EU official said.

American exports such as Levis jeans, Harley Davidson motorbikes and bourbon whiskey will be targeted, trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom confirmed. Cranberries, orange juice, sweetcorn and peanut butter are among the other goods targeted. As of now, the European Commission’s law places duties on $3.2 billion worth of U.S. goods.

"We did not want to be in this position. However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the US to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice," the bloc's trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement today.

The European Commission drew up the list of American products that will be affected by the counter-tariffs in March when the Trump Administration first announced the 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% on aluminium.

The Deutsche Welle reports that the higher tariffs had previously been registered with the World Trade Organization (WTO). "The rules of international trade that we have developed over the years with our American partners cannot be violated without a reaction from our side," Malmstrom said. She called the EU's response "measured, proportionate and fully in line with WTO rules."

The response also comes after major European leaders including the EU’s president met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G7 summit held in Canada. The talks to halt the EU tariffs did not yield any result with U.S. announcing that it was proceeding with them.

The steel and aluminium duties also target Canada, Mexico and other close U.S. allies.

Canada and Mexico have also announced their own similar countermeasures against the U.S. just as an even greater trade spat is brewing between the U.S. and China. Trump announced this month that the U.S. would place a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods worth $50 billion from July 6. Together, the current battles have raised the spectre of a global trade war. (With Agency inputs)