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No breakthrough for EU, Japan in US trade row talks

AFP  |  Brussels 

The EU's top trade said the US failed today to provide full clarity on how and could be spared from Washington's and tariffs, but said talks would continue next week.

made her statement after crunch talks with US Trade in an effort to defuse a bitter row that many fear could turn into an all-out trade war.

Donald Trump's announcement of duties of 25 percent on and 10 percent on has stung the European Union, along with other major partners including Japan, whose also attended the talks in

"As long-standing security partners of the United States, (the EU and Japan) underlined to Lighthizer their expectation that EU and Japanese exports to the US would be exempted from the application of higher tariffs," an EU statement said after the talks.

But after two-way talks with Lighthizer, Malmstroem tweeted: "No immediate clarity on the exact US procedure for exemption however, so discussions will continue next week."

has gone the furthest in fighting back against Washington's shock measures, loudly announcing a list of US products to hit with countermeasures if its exports are affected by the tariffs.

In announcing the measures, taunted Trump, saying the EU could match "stupid with stupid".

Lighthizer, a loyalist to Trump's "First" mantra, made no comment after the talks, but the three sides did agree on a series of next steps to address the oversupply worldwide of and other materials, mainly by

This progress was "unexpected" and a source of cautious optimism on solving the tariff row, an EU said on condition of anonymity.

"If Trump wants his allies to demonstrate that they are united in tackling problems with China, this is precisely that," the source added.

With tensions at a peak, the EU had sought to keep low expectations for any breakthrough on Saturday. Vice said it would be "a meeting, not THE meeting".

Along with a huge range of steel products, the EU's hit list of flagship American products lined up for counter measures includes peanut butter, bourbon whiskey and denim jeans.

-- singled out for particular criticism by Trump -- accused of protectionism, calling the tariffs an "affront to close partners".

German warned that "no one can win in such a race to the bottom" while French said Trump risked provoking a mutually destructive "trade war".

Trump said the tariffs, which will come into effect after 15 days, will not initially apply to and He also added to the list of likely carve-outs.

Complicating matters, Trump indicated that the sparing of was linked to an unspecified "security agreement" outside of trade policy.

light Trump's attacks against -- the biggest economy in the -- that have accused of contributing much less than the US towards the funding of NATO.

The EU exports around five billion euros' ($4 billion) worth of steel and a billion euros' worth of to the US each year, and the European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, estimates Trump's tariffs could cost some 2.8 billion euros.

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 Trade Organization rules.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 10 2018. 23:50 IST