The European Union is prepared to retaliate against US President Donald Trump's decision to impose steel and aluminium tariffs while still favouring talks to resolve the dispute, a senior EU official said today.
"We are prepared and will be prepared if need be to use rebalancing measures," European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told a press conference in Brussels.
But he said Brussels was hoping "we are not forced to use them" as it favoured "dialogue" with the Trump administration.
Katainen said Brussels was seeking "clarity" on how the tariffs will be implemented as the 28-nation bloc argued it should be excluded because its industry was not a security threat to Washington.
"We need a dialogue with the US. It's clear, we need clarity to the situation," Katainen said. "We are also looking at the option to be excluded."
He said he hoped for greater clarity when US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer visits Brussels on Saturday for long-planned talks that are now a de facto crisis meeting.
Malmstroem said dialogue was the "prime option" for the bloc.
Brussels has already drawn up a hit list of flagship American products to target for countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs including peanut butter, bourbon whiskey and orange juice.
On Thursday Trump imposed the tariffs -- 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium -- despite repeated warnings from the EU and other allies that this could trigger a full-scale trade war.
They are due to take effect in the next two weeks.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)