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Minister Virolainen: The United States' decision to restrict imports of steel and aluminium is very unfortunate

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 9.3.2018 7.17 | Published in English on 9.3.2018 at 14.30
Press release

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, signed orders to restrict steel and aluminium imports with the exception of imports from Canada and Mexico. Tariffs of 25% are to be placed on steel and 10% 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.

Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen considers President Donald Trump's announcement on import tariffs very unfortunate and emphasises that it is important to maintain continuous consultations on possible exemptions between the European Union and the United States.

"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," Virolainen notes.

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

"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”, Minister Virolainen emphasises.

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 persons in the United States and, if indirect effects are taken into account, work is provided to as many 70,000 persons.

"Finland is worried about the possible repercussions on the jobs and competitive capacity of companies both in Europe and in the United States," Minister Virolainen says.

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, of Finland’s total exports, the United States’ share was 2.4% for steel and 0.5% for aluminium goods.

Inquiries:
Ilkka-Pekka Similä, Director General, tel. +358 50 3363856
Ilkka Saarinen, Deputy Director General, tel. +358 40 847 2405
Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 40 352 0463, and
Marjut Akola, Director of the Unit, tel. +358 40 352 0408.

The Foreign Ministry's email addresses are of the format: firstname.lastname@formin.fi