The World Trade Organization warned Friday that U.S. President Donald Trump is risking an economically damaging trade war if he goes ahead with plans to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, USA Today reported.
Trump, who has long railed against what he deems unfair trade practices by China and others, said Thursday he planned to levy penalties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports from next week.
"We are not going to sit on our hands while our industry is at risk of being hit with unfair measures," said European Commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein. "We are going to respond swiftly, firmly and in a proportionate way."
Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the announcement raised "serious concerns" and that a blanket duty would punish everyone.
"Unlike possibly other countries, there's no unfair competition or dumping prices from German or European firms," he said.
He urged Trump to reconsider, suggesting that a trade war between allies would harm both sides.
"The threat of difficult trade strife between the U.S. and Europe is neither in the interest of Europe or the U.S. As the saying goes: 'when two fight with each other, it pleases the third,'" he said without naming any specific countries.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the tariffs would hurt international commerce and that the U.S. would not solve issues of global overcapacity of both steel and aluminum with "unilateral measures."