The EU's trade commissioner says there is "no immediate clarity" from the United States on how the bloc can gain exemption from new tariffs on imported steel and aluminium imposed by President Trump.
European trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom met USA trade envoy Robert Lighthizer in Brussels on Saturday for what she described as "frank" discussions which "brought no immediate clarity".
The European Union and Japan, the United States' top economic and military ally in Asia, also reiterated that their exports were not a threat to USA national security, rejecting Trump's justification for imposing the tariffs.
Announcing the tariffs, Trump said Canada and Mexico would be excluded and other countries could negotiate exemptions, but he singled out Germany for particular criticism.
The EU is also maintaining a threat of counter-measures that would target US imports ranging from maize to motorcycles, and may publish its list next week to allow industry and other interested parties to give their input.
The EU says that its exports should be excluded from the measures. The EU wants to find out exactly what mandate he has and precisely what conditions allow exemptions, but it is ruling out any negotiations for USA market access.
Seko did not go into what conditions might allow Japan to evade tariffs and, asked if Lighthizer had brought up the USA trade deficit with Japan, Seko said no.
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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom take part in a meeting to discuss steel overcapacity, in Brussels, Belgium March 10, 2018.
"We expressed our concern".
The two also met with Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan Hiroshige Seko, and all three pledged in a statement afterward to work together to fight dumping that hurts jobs and industries around the world.
The EU's top official on Wednesday warned US President Donald Trump against starting a trade war, as the bloc prepared to retaliate against Washington's threatened metals tariffs with duties on peanut butter, orange juice and bourbon whiskey.
Europe's main steel federation said Trump's reasons for slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum are absurd and warned that the move could cost tens of thousands of jobs across the continent.
European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: "We all have to choose whether we want rules-based trade - which supports rules-based world order - or do we want rule of force, or the rule of the strongest, which we have now seen?"
The EU is also looking at "safeguard" measures to protect its industry - restricting the bloc's imports of steel and aluminium to stop foreign supplies flooding the European market, which is allowed under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.