WASHINGTON, March 9. /TASS/. Nothing good has ever come of measures similar to US import tariffs on steel and aluminum products, Russia’s trade representative at the United States, Alexander Stadnik, told TASS.
Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump signed a decree to introduce customs tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum mill articles, the White House said. The presidential decree imposes a 25% ad valorem tariff on steel articles and 10% for aluminum. Certain nations, including Canada and Mexico, may be exempt from the tariffs that will come into force in 15 days.
According to the Russian diplomat, the move has already been condemned by "major European and international officials and statesmen," such as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Those experts noted that "similar US actions may result in trade wars," Stadnik said. "And nothing good has ever come out of a trade war, there can be no winner. Everyone suffers," the Russian diplomat added.
"Measures of this kind only encourage the growth of protectionist moods in the economic world," he said. "Moreover, any limitations of this kind - namely sanctions, unilateral tariffs and so on - have a negiative impact on the entire global market."
If Washington was really seeking to "initiate a trade discussion" with other states, "the introduction of the new measures looked like a very strange invitation," the Russian trade representative said.
According to the official, Russia’s steel exports to the US stood at about $700 million in 2016 and at more than $1.4 billion in 2017. Russian aluminum exports to the country amounted to $1.35 billion in 2016 and almost $1.6 billion in 2017.
Russia is the third largest aluminum exporter and ninth largest steel importer to the United States, he said.
"Naturally, those sums are quite big. But the US, undoubtedly, is not the only market for our companies. Besides, the products supplied [by Russian manufacturers] are either have no counterparts, or are necessary for the US in terms of price or some other qualities," Stadnik said.
According to the diplomat, by introducing those measures Trump "fulfills his campaign promise to boost industry and create new jobs at all costs.".