France says U.S. tariffs on E.U. metal exports unjustifiable

The French government said on Thursday that the United States trade tariffs on European metal exports were unjustifiable, and would be met with a proportionate and calibrated European Union response.

“Today, France and the EU disapproves, of course, these measures,” Reuters quotes France’s junior trade minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.

“We are getting ready to put in place safeguards, rebalancing measures because we won’t let unjustifiable and unjustified measures go unanswered,” he added.

“I’m happy that, in this moment of truth, the EU is united.”

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced in Washington on Thursday that the measures would take effect from midnight (0400 GMT Friday).

Canada and Mexico are also affected by the new tariffs outlined by the U.S.

Mexico’s economy ministry responded with equivalent tariffs on products including pork bellies, grapes, apples and flat steel.

“Mexico deeply deplores and condemns the decision by the United States to impose these tariffs,” it said in a statement. “Mexico has stated repeatedly that this type of measure, based on national security, is neither appropriate nor justified.”

France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire labelled the tariffs “unjustified and dangerous,” and the said the EU would take “all necessary measures” to respond if the US did impose tariffs.