Mogherini: EU 'not at trade war with anyone'
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc was not in a trade war with anyone but would defend its interests, hours after the US slapped punishing metals tariffs on Europe and other close allies.
"The European Union is not at war with anyone... the EU is a peace project, including on trade," Mogherini said at a joint press conference in Brussels with the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
"We believe in global free fair trade and we will continue to do so. Having said that, clearly the EU has to defend its interests," AFP cited her as saying.
Mogherini said the EU had prepared its counter-measures against the US, including a tit-for-tat threat of duties on a whole range of products including cranberries and bourbon whiskey.
She said the EU will also launch a dispute settlement procedure against the United States at the World Trade Organization, a legal process that could take years.
"This doesn't mean the United States are not our closest partners and friends. Allies they (will) stay," Mogherini added.
The US government added a 25-percent tariff on steel and 10-percent on aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico starting from Friday.