As deadline looms, EU awaits news of US tariff exemption

A worker controls iron at the Thyssenkrupp steel factory in Duisburg, Germany, Friday, April 27, 2018. Duisburg is the biggest steel producer site in Europe. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

BRUSSELS — The European Union is still waiting to hear whether its 28 member nations will be exempt from new U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs just hours before the measures could enter force.

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump slapped tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum, but granted the EU a temporary exemption until May 1.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross are due to discuss the issue later Monday.

The EU has drawn up a list of "rebalancing" duties worth some 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) to slap on U.S. products if it is not permanently excluded.

Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said "we are patient, but we are also prepared."

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