The European Commission is mulling concrete counter-measures, should the United States impose high tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, newspaper reports have indicated. Brussels has no intention to just sit still.

Aluminum (Imago/Sven Simon)

Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported Tuesday European Union officials were preparing a swift response to possible US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Amid global overcapacities, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross last week recommended slapping high tariffs on US imports. He indicated that one possible scenario could be a punitive tariff of around 24 percent on all steel imports and a tariff of at least 7.7 percent on aluminum imports.

Another scenario would see tariffs being imposed only on five nations including China and Russia. US President Donald Trump will still have to decide on any tariffs suggested by Ross.

Should EU nations be affected by higher tariffs, the EU executive would “come up with an adequate response within days,” the newspaper reported, adding that the focus would most likely be on agricultural produce including tomatoes and potatoes.

Steel industry hit by overcapacity and tariffs

Giving Harley-Davidson a rough ride?

But according to the report, tariffs might also be slapped on motorcycle imports. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said EU officials had mentioned the possibility of imposing a tariff on Harley-Davidson imports from Wisconsin, the home of House Speaker Paul Ryan.

They also mentioned a possible tariff on bourbon from Tennessee and Kentucky, the home of longtime Kentucky Senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Some items on the list of possible EU tariffs were put there during the last big trade dispute between the EU and the United States under former President George W. Bush. But many parts of the list have been altered since to reflect changing realities.

Let the tariffs begin!

hg/tr (AFP, Reuters)

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