Saturday, 23 March, 2019

Imposition of import tariffs

Helsinki terms US move unfortunate

14 Mar 2018, 01:08 ( 14 Mar, 2018) | updated: 14 Mar 2018, 07:46 ( 14 Mar, 2018)

DF Report
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen .Photo Finnish government by Lauri Heikkinen.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen on Tuesday said the announcement by US President Donald Trump of imposition of import tariffs is very unfortunate.

The minister also emphasised the importance of maintaining continuous consultation between the European Union and the United States on possible exemptions, said an official press release.

“The EU is now carefully reviewing the situation in light of the content of President Trump’s decision, and I will be in close contact with Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. It is now important that the EU stands united,” said Virolainen.

The European Union is the biggest trading and investment partner of the United States and a close ally in security questions.

Virolainen said, “We believe that imported steel and aluminium from the EU does not threaten US national security. Moreover, these actions will not resolve the excess capacity problem, which must be addressed in international forums despite what the US is doing.” 

Imposing tariffs would markedly reduce steel and aluminium imports from the EU to the USA. For Finland, the United States is among the most important trading and investment partners after the EU countries.

Finnish subsidiaries in numerous business sectors provide employment for approximately 34,000 people in the United States and, if indirect effects are taken into account, work is provided to as many as 70,000 people.

“Finland is worried about the possible repercussions on the jobs and competitive capacity of companies both in Europe and in the United States,” Virolainen added.

The volume of trade between Finland and the United States was USD 11.6 billion in 2016. Finland exports mainly forestry products, measuring instruments, electrical machines and devices, and mineral oils to the United States. In 2017, the United States’ share of Finland’s total exports was 2.4 per cent for steel and 0.5 per cent for aluminium goods.

US President Donald Trump has signed orders to restrict steel and aluminium imports with the exception of those from Canada and Mexico. A 25 per cent tariff will be placed on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium imports from the EU to the US. The tariffs are to take effect on 23 March 2018. Countries may negotiate exemptions to the tariffs.