After India, now European Union slaps additional tariffs on the US

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"Needless to say, it is in full respect of EU and [World Trade Organization] rules", said European Commission spokesperson Alexander Winterstein. That comes after the USA put a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of Chinese goods, to which Beijing responded by imposing an identical charge on the same amount of American goods.

The world's most-powerful central bankers this week warned that escalating worldwide trade tensions have started damaging confidence among companies, threatening the global economic expansion.

India finalized its decision during a week when the global trade war escalated, with the United States enacting $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, and the European Union imposing $3 billion in levies on such products as US -made bourbon, peanut butter and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The EU tariffs came into force just a week after China accused the United States of starting a trade war.

The EU, which is the world's biggest trading bloc, has taken its case to the World Trade Organization. "However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the United States to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union means that we are left with no other choice", she said.

The EU trade commissioner has acknowledged that the EU targeted some iconic American items to put political pressure on U.S. President Donald Trump and senior U.S. politicians. The EU imposes a 10 per cent tariff on imported US cars.

"The basis for future agreements between the European Union and the USA must be the rules of the WTO", the German auto industy group VDA said in a statement Thursday.

Malmström added that if the US removes its tariffs, the European taxes would also be lifted.

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The White House last week announced plans to slap 25 percent tariffs on 1,100 Chinese goods, worth $50 billion in imports.

"He's right, we make great cars in the United States".

Trump has also started a trade fight with China over Beijing's sharp-elbowed efforts to overtake USA technological dominance.

When the USA imposed the tariffs it said it was doing so as a matter of national security - further angering its closest allies, whose tariffs are now targeting President Trump's base of support - in the steel and aluminum industries, but also in farming states, and in whiskey-producing Kentucky.

The Chinese have said they will respond in kind. But if both exports and sales of USA companies inside China are measured, the U.S. has a surplus of US$20 billion with China, according to Deutsche Bank AG.

The Commerce Department is allowing companies to request exemptions from the steel and aluminum tariffs - if they can show that the metals they need aren't available from Americans producers.

American tariffs on steel and aluminum have also hit Canada, Mexico, India, Turkey and India. Senators this week grilled Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. "The president has made it very hard for other countries to give him what he wants".