Bo-Erik Pers, managing director for Sweden’s steel industry trade body Jernkontoret, believes that US industry will be harder hit by the heavy tariffs announced by American President Donald Trump on Thursday than their Swedish steel suppliers.
Trump told a meeting of industry representatives on Thursday that he planned as early as next week to sign into force import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminium, applied to all countries.
But Pers said that Sweden’s specialist steel industry was well protected against such tariffs.
“All of the material we are delivering is very, very, high-grade steel, and these kinds of materials can be difficult for customers in the US to find internally in America,” Pers told Radio Sweden. “I feel a little bit of pity for the American customers.”
Pers said Swedish steel companies export more than 80 percent of what they produce to more than 140 countries, making it important for Swedish producers that tariffs be kept to a minimum.
But he was not worried that the US government’s plans would trigger an international trade war.
The Swedish government was critical, with business minister Ann Linde saying her government “deeply regretted Trump’s decision”, and calling on the European Union to impose retaliatory measures.
“We cannot watch passively in the EU as the US brings such heavy tariffs,” she said. “Under WTO rules, there is a right to take safeguard actions, and that is what we need to discuss within the European Union.”
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