The European Commission’s College of Commissioners has endorsed the decision to impose additional duties on the full list of US products notified to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), as part of the EU’s response to the US tariffs on steel and aluminium products. The list of US products includes T-shirts, trousers, shorts and cotton bed linen. Following the decision to apply additional duties to selected imports from the US, the Commission expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with Member States before the end of June so that the new duties start applying in July, the Commission said.

As per the list of products notified to the WTO, a 25 per cent additional duty is proposed to be imposed on T-shirts, singlets and other vests of cotton, knitted or crocheted; T-shirts, singlets and other vests of wool or fine animal hair or man-made fibres, knitted or crocheted; Tshirts, singlets and other vests of textile materials, knitted or crocheted (excl. of wool, fine animal hair, cotton or man-made fibres); men’s or boys’ trousers and breeches of cotton denim (excl. knitted or crocheted, industrial and occupational, bib and brace overalls and underpants); men’s or boys’ shorts of cotton (excl. knitted or crocheted, swimwear and underpants); men’s or boys’ trousers and breeches of synthetic fibres, industrial and occupational (excl. knitted or crocheted and bib and brace overalls); women’s or girls’ cotton denim trousers and breeches (excl. industrial and occupational, bib and brace overalls and panties); women’s or girls’ cotton shorts (excl. knitted or crocheted, panties and swimwear); and bed linen of cotton (excl. printed, knitted or crocheted).

“The application of the rebalancing duties is fully in line with WTO rules, and corresponds to a list of products previously notified to the WTO. The WTO Safeguards Agreement allows for a rebalancing corresponding to the damage caused by the US measures with the EU exports worth 6.4 bn euro (2017) being affected. The EU will therefore exercise its rights immediately on the US products valued at up to 2.8 bn euro of trade. The remaining rebalancing on trade valued at 3.6 bn euro will take place at a later stage – in three years’ time or after a positive finding in WTO dispute settlement if that should come sooner,” the report said.

“This is a measured and proportionate response to the unilateral and illegal decision taken by the United States to impose tariffs on the European steel and aluminium exports. What’s more, the EU’s reaction is fully in line with international trade law. We regret that the United States left us with no other option than to safeguard the EU interests,” said EU Commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmström.