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EU to start imposing tariffs on US from Friday

The targets include steel, agricultural and other products, including bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

The EU will start taxing a range of imports from the US on Friday, including quintessentially American goods such as Harley-Davidson bikes, in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on European steel and aluminium.

The 28-nation EU was first expected to do so only next month but EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said they would introduce “rebalancing” tariffs on about 2.8 billion euros’ (£2.4 billion) worth of US products this week.

The targets include steel, agricultural and other products, including bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice.

Ms Malmstrom said that “we are left with no other choice”.

Mr Trump imposed tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on imported aluminium from the EU on June 1.

Europeans claim it is simply protectionism and breaks global trade rules.

Ms Malmstrom said: “The rules of international trade, which we have developed over the years hand in hand with our American partners, cannot be violated without a reaction from our side.

“Needless to say, if the US removes its tariffs, our measures will also be removed.”

Mr Trump said the measures against the EU are meant to protect US national security interests, but the Europeans claim it cannot be that close allies, many of them Nato partners, would endanger US security.

The EU exported some 5.5 million tons of steel to the US last year.

European steel producers are concerned about a loss of market access but also that steel from elsewhere will flood in.

The EU, which is the world’s biggest trading bloc, has also taken its case to the World Trade Organisation.

If the WTO rules in its favour, or after three years if the case is still going on, the EU plans to impose further tariffs of 3.6 billion euros (£3.1 billion) on US products.

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