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UPDATE 1-EU demands compensation for U.S. steel tariffs at WTO

(Adds detail, background, quote)

By Tom Miles

GENEVA, April 16 (Reuters) - The European Union is seeking
compensation from the United States for U.S. tariffs on steel
and aluminium, despite Washington's assertion that they are not
subject to World Trade Organization rules, a WTO filing showed
on Monday.

In a step already taken by China, the EU said it did not
accept the "national security" justification for the U.S.
tariffs but said they had been imposed just to protect U.S.
industry.

"Notwithstanding the United States' characterisation of
these measures as security measures, they are in essence
safeguard measures," the EU statement said.

Safeguard tariffs can be imposed on imports of a particular
product if a country's own industry is at risk of serious damage
from a sudden surge of imports. In the U.S. case, critics of
Trump's policy say there is no such threat.

The EU said it wanted to hold consultations with the United
States as soon as possible.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced the tariffs last
month, causing a global outcry because the penalties were seen
as unjustified and populist.

Countries can claim exemption from many international trade
rules if they can show they are imposing tariffs to protect
their national security. But those exemptions do not apply for
safeguard sanctions.

The EU and other U.S. allies are not only worried the
tariffs will limit that amount of their goods getting into the
United States. They also fear steel barred from the United
States will flood back into their markets, causing a glut.

China had said it will retaliate by putting duties on up to
$3 billion of U.S. imports including fruit, nuts and wine.

The EU is drawing up its own list of duties.
(Reporting by Tom Miles
Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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