Theresa May condemns Trump's deeply disappointing and 'unjustified' EU trade war

GettyTheresa May and Donald Trump
  • Theresa May condemns Donald Trump’s “unjustified” trade war with the EU.
  • The prime minister says she is “deeply disappointed” in US President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on transatlantic trade.
  • The comments are her strongest criticism of the president since he entered office.
  • May joins a growing line of world leaders in condemning Trump’s trade war.

LONDON – Theresa May has said she is “deeply disappointed” in Donald Trump’s “unjustified” decision to impose tariffs on EU steel and aluminium imports, in her strongest criticism of the US president since he entered office.

In a statement released by Downing Street late on Friday afternoon, the prime minister condemned the president’s decision to impose new penalties on trade and called for the EU and UK to be “permanently exempted” from all US tariffs.

“I am deeply disappointed at the unjustified decision by the US to apply tariffs to EU steel and aluminium imports,” May said in a statement. She added: “The US, EU and UK are close allies and have always promoted values of open and fair trade across the world. Our steel and aluminium industries are hugely important to the UK, but they also contribute to US industry including in defence projects which bolster US national security.”

In comments that mark a shift from the prime minister’s previous attempts to ally the UK with the US in advance of Brexit, May said the UK would stand alongside the EU in any transatlantic trade war.

“The EU and UK should be permanently exempted from tariffs and we will continue to work together to protect and safeguard our workers and industries,” she said.

May’s comments are her strongest criticism yet of the president. The UK government had been hoping for a quick and favourable trade agreement with the US, with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s previously promising that Britain would be “first in line” for a future trade deal.

They also put her in line with other EU and Western leaders who have also condemned Trump’s decision to launch a trade war.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker described the tariffs as “totally unacceptable” while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the decision as “illegal and counterproductive.”

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