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Trump pushes back tariff exemptions but Europe is still not happy

  • President Donald Trump decided Monday to delay until June 1 a decision regarding the imposition of metal tariffs.
  • The European Union said the delay prolongs uncertainty for businesses.
  • The EU's argument is that it's not causing overcapacity in the metal industry.

The European Union remains unsatisfied after the White House's move to extend a decision on metal tariffs.

President Donald Trump decided Monday to delay until June 1 a decision regarding the imposition of a 25 percent levy on steel imports and a 10 percent duty on aluminum for Mexico, Canada, and the EU. The European Union, which has been temporarily exempted from the tariffs, said the delay prolongs uncertainty for businesses, which are already suffering from the U.S. plans.

"The U.S. decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions. The EU should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security," the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, said in a statement Tuesday morning.

The EU's argument is that it's not causing overcapacity in the metal industry and, as a result, it should not be punished with higher tariffs.

"On the contrary, the EU has over the past months engaged at all possible levels with the U.S. and other partners to find a solution to this issue," the statement said.

The Trump administration and the EU have been at odds since Trump announced additional costs for metal imports in March. At the time, the U.S. president argued that it was a matter of national security to impose these tariffs to protect the American industry. In the eyes of the EU, the motivation of the U.S. is an economic safeguard measure in disguise, not a national security measure.

"We have serious doubts about that justification, we cannot see how the European Union's friends and allies in NATO can be a threat to national security in the U.S. We find that assumption deeply unjust," the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmstrom, told reporters in early March.