EU Council President Donald Tusk has urged the U.S. to resume trade talks amid a looming trade conflict between the two trading blocs.
“Make trade, not war, Mr President,” Tusk said on Wednesday, addressing U.S. President Donald Trump following talks in the Finnish capital of Helsinki with Prime Minister, Juha Sipila.
On March 8, Trump declared global tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminium with exemptions for Canada and Mexico and potential flexibility for others, triggering a wave of international condemnation and stoking fears of a trade war.
The U.S. president defended the decision on Wednesday, tweeting: “We cannot keep a blind eye to the rampant unfair trade practices against our country!”
Tusk said the U.S. president’s proposal “is a bad sign for transatlantic relations” and underlined the need to “go back to EU-U.S. trade talks now.”
The EU has mentioned it could introduce counter-tariffs on U.S. products including bourbon, Harley Davidson motorcycles and Levi’s jeans.
“When the president complains of too many tariffs between the EU and the U.S., I can understand him. We are not happy either,” Tusk said.
Tusk reminded of historic ties between Europe and the U.S., and noted that Trump has said: “real friends will be excluded from the proposed measures.”
“I would like to stress today that the free world has survived the most difficult decades only thanks to the fact that Europeans and Americans have been real friends, so let us cherish this friendship, not challenge it,” he added.