A trade dispute between the US and much of the rest of the world developed on Monday to tear a nail, as the European steel industry – and that of a handful of other American allies – is still uncertain whether its exports to the US are new Fares arrive at midnight
and German Chancellor
both made personal visits to the White House last week, but have left behind no visible assurances or concessions on transatlantic trade issues. Thus, European officials and steel and aluminum executives had bet on US tariffs on Tuesday morning.
The European Union and a handful of other ally had previously encountered a delay in the implementation of high US tariffs on aluminum and steel American shores. The deadline for this extension ends at midnight, and the White House has not yet signaled which of several steps it could take.
Talks with the EU on the extension of the derogation have not made any significant progress, people say. German officials expect the block to face customs duties from Tuesday. The EU has vowed to retaliate against American exports, including bourbon and blue jeans, although any action can not be taken immediately.
One important point is whether European allies will accept quotas for their metal exports they have resisted and that they say they violate the rules of the World Trade Organization. Korea, on the other hand, accepted such "voluntary export restrictions" and won a long-term duty exemption.
Mr. Trump and US sales representative
In the meantime, they have repeatedly campaigned with Canada and Mexico for negotiations to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). These two countries are generally expected to achieve a further extension of the derogation. Much of the US steel and aluminum industry and the United Steelworkers union are in favor of fully exempting Canada from tariffs.
Europe can also be spared. Many US lawmakers and officials are skeptical of punishing the EU, which includes most of the nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Extending the tax exemption for some economies, but not for the EU, could continue to weigh on Washington's recent, sometimes tense relations with Germany and the UK.
Nevertheless, the European steel industry is prepared for the bad, but in an awkward position, do much about it.
"To prepare you, you need to know what's going to happen," said
Charles de Lusignan,
a spokesman for the Eurofer trade group, representing all European steel producers.
The European steel industry has already felt the effects. Large exporters to the US ̵
Steel imports in the US According to Eurofer, the EU rose by 300,000 tonnes to 2.9 million tonnes in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period of the previous year. The European Commission, the antitrust authority of the Union, is considering whether protective measures should be taken to prevent an increase in imports.
"We are already seeing the trend towards massive trade diversions into the open, European market," said
Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff,
President of the German Steel Federation. "Protectionism is poison," he added.
Some European steelmakers say the damage could not be too serious, at least too early. The Saarstahl Group, a holding company controlling the two largest steel producers in Germany's steel country near the border with Luxembourg and France, carried out an informal survey of their US customers to see how tariffs would affect their ability to export to America One-third of its American customers buying its high-quality steel wires and rods said they would continue to buy steel at higher prices, the spokeswoman said
The US accounts for less than 5% of the company's sales.
Many companies have natural hedges – large farms in the US. Spain's leading stainless steel manufacturer
Www.cosmetic-business.com//showarti…p?art_id=575 He is concerned about European market prices, but he also sees some benefits Acerinox accounts for 40% of its sales in the US through North American Stainless Unit based in Kentucky. Acerinox says it has a 35% share of the US stainless steel market.
Still at home in Europe, Acerinox said: "Increased imports are putting prices under heavy pressure."
in London contributed to this article.
Write to Zeke Turner at Zeke.Turner@wsj.com