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Press Releases, 3/5/2018 | Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Minister Virolainen: barriers to trade should be removed, not increased

The President of the United States Donald Trump announced on 1 March that he was going to institute tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium. The tariffs would be 25% for steel and 10% for aluminium. The decision is to be signed by the President next week. 

The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Anne-Mari Virolainen considers the announcement by President Donald Trump concerning the import tariffs as most alarming.

“The European Union is the main trade and investment partner for the Unites States. Barriers to trade should be removed instead of imposing new restrictions. Transatlantic integration is beneficial to both parties”, Minister Virolainen says.

Already at present the problems of overcapacity in steel are being discussed in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and by the G20 countries.

“The envisaged import tariffs are not founded on national security, but it is a question of protecting domestic industry. The proposed measures would not address the real problem, that is, overcapacity in steel and aluminium. Finland is very worried about the impact of new tariffs on the competitiveness of European and Finnish companies and employment”, Minister Virolainen says.

Studies on the impact of steel and aluminium imports on national security in the United States were launched in April 2017. The reports published by the Commerce Department in February recommend various means to restrict both steel and aluminium imports.

The European Union is the main trade and investment partner for the Unites States. The EU and United States economies combined represent about half of the world’s GDP. In 2016 the value of trade in goods and services between Finland and the United States was USD 11.6 billion.

In 2017 the proportion of the United States in total Finnish exports was 2.4% for steel, 4.6% for steel goods and 0.5% for aluminium goods.

Inquiries: Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, Diplomatic Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 46 923 0463 and Marjut Akola, Director of Unit, tel. +358 40 352 0408.

The Foreign Ministry’s email addresses are of the format

Published originally in Finnish on 2 March 2018

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Updated 3/5/2018

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