In Brief : EEC Ministers OK Stiff Duties
European foreign ministers today agreed to impose stiff duties on some U.S. imports but delayed implementing the sanctions to give both sides time to resolve a transatlantic trade dispute.
The 12-nation European Economic Community will levy the tariffs if there is no move to ease the conflict by mid-February, Spanish Foreign Minister Francisco Fernandez Ordonez warned. “We hope the new North American administration will adopt a more intelligent attitude.”
The U.S. Mission to the EEC said in a statement: “We want to make every effort to first contain and then resolve this dispute, and this decision . . . is clearly a positive step in that direction.”
But the U.S. officials also said they are “very concerned” about the ministers’ decision to approve a list of products that “could eventually be the target of . . . counter-retaliation.”
The dispute was touched off by the EEC decision to impose a Jan. 1 ban on U.S. meat from cattle treated with growth hormones. The United States retaliated with higher tariffs on a variety of products from the trading bloc.