European Union hits back at Trump with retaliatory trade tariffs

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The European Commission in Brussels gave final approval for a 25 per cent duty on 2.8 billion euros (US$3.2 billion) of EU imports of a range of USA products including Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles, Levi Strauss & Co. jeans and bourbon whiskey.

They range from agricultural produce such as rice and orange juice to jeans, whiskey, motorbikes and various steel products.

The European Union initiated its first salvo in retaliation for the Trump administration's tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the continent. A separate 10 per cent levy is being applied to US playing cards imported into the bloc.

"We did not want to be in this position", EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said in a statement.

Trump has said that the tariffs are needed to protect the nation's national security.

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Donald Trump hit the EU, Canada and Mexico with tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum at the start of June, ending exemptions that had been in place since March.

However, President Donald Trump has now asked officials to identify a further $200bn of Chinese goods to be subject to a 10% tariff.

The EU retaliatory tariffs will initially target a list of United States goods worth 2.8 billion euros (3.24 billion dollars), most of which will be hit with import duties of 25 per cent.

Mr Trump said the global oversupply of those metals - driven by China - threated American steel and aluminium producers.

The EU also has in reserve potential tariffs of 10 percent to 50 percent that it could impose on a further 3.6 billion euros of US imports in three years' time.

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