EU trade chief to meet U.S. peers Ross, Lighthizer in Paris on Wednesday

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s top trade official Cecilia Malmstrom will meet U.S. counterparts Wilbur Ross and Robert Lighthizer in Paris on Wednesday, two days before a temporary reprieve from U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs is due to expire.

FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom holds a news conference in Brussels, Belgium March 7, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Vidal/File Photo

“A bilateral meeting with (U.S. Commerce) Secretary Ross is scheduled to take place on the margins of the OECD meeting on Wednesday,” European Commission spokesman Daniel Rosario said in an email.

Malmstrom will also meet Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, separately during the same event.

She will also take part in a meeting with U.S. and Japanese counterparts on Thursday to continue trilateral discussions on steel overcapacity, the spokesman said.

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The Commission, which oversees trade policy for the 28-country European Union, is seeking a permanent exemption from the tariffs, saying the EU is a U.S. ally and not responsible for global overcapacity of either steel and aluminum.

Malmstrom herself said last week she did not think an EU proposal to discuss opening its markets wider to U.S. imports had convinced Washington to lift the threat of measures to curb EU steel imports.

Canada and Mexico were also given temporary reprieves until June 1, while Argentina, Australia and Brazil have secured permanent exemptions, albeit in exchange for quotas.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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