By Jeyhun Aliyev
The European Commission on Wednesday announced the "provisional safeguard measures" in regards to imports of some steel products.
Noting in a statement that the EU market remained open and the traditional imports of steel products would not be influenced, the commission said the 25 percent tariffs would apply on 23 categories of steel products in the form of "tariff rate quota."
The measures will be effective on July 19, the statement added.
"The US tariffs on steel products are causing trade diversion, which may result in serious harm to EU steelmakers and workers in this industry," the EU's Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.
She said the measures were to protect the EU's domestic industry against the rise of imports.
"I am convinced that they strike the right balance between the interest of EU producers and users of steel, like the automotive industry and the construction sector, who rely on imports," Malmstrom said.
The 25 percent tariffs for predetermined product categories will only be enacted once imports exceed its average for the last three years, according to the commission.
While the quotas were applied for all countries, there were some exemptions for number of developing countries with limited exports to the EU, as well as countries of European Economic Area (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein).
The provisional safeguard measures could take place for 200 days the most, while the commission will come with the final decision latest by early 2019 after reviewing the comments of all interested parties, the statement said.
The measures were part of the three-pronged response outlined by EU trade commission earlier this year, it added.
The U.S. announced that starting on June 1, 2018, it will impose additional duties of 25 percent and 10 percent respectively on imports of steel and aluminum from the EU.
U.S. President Donald Trump has also threatened to expand the scope of U.S. levies to include a 20 percent tariff on European cars after kicking off the trade war in June.
The EU last month began slapping the U.S. with retaliatory tariffs on goods including Harley-Davidson products following Trump's decision to hit the 28-nation bloc with steel and aluminum duties.
According to the European Commission, the U.S. measures affect EU exports worth €6.4 billion ($7.4 billion) and of this amount, the EU will rebalance on €2.8 billion ($3.2 billion) worth of exports immediately.