European shipowners disagree with the US President Trump’s decision to impose additional duties on imports of certain steel and aluminium products into the United States.

“This protectionist decision of imposing 25% import duties on steel and 10% on aluminium will obviously have a negative impact on transatlantic relations and on global markets,” Martin Dorsman, European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) Secretary General, commented.

“The European Shipping Community is concerned with this development and the potential of full-scale trade war. It is clear that the tariffs might leverage to other products as we have already heard from the EU leaders’ responses. A full scale trade war will benefit nobody,” he added.

Shipping is the backbone of global trade, enabling the import and export of affordable goods on a scale that is not possible for any other transport mode. Shipping needs global trade to exist and global trade cannot exist without an efficient shipping industry. Around 90% of world trade in goods is carried by the international shipping industry and EU shipping companies are large players in this global industry, according to ECSA.

European shipowners control 40% of the world’s merchant fleet and operate shipping services all over the world. This includes trade between non EU countries such as trade between the Far East and Latin America, so called “cross trades.” For many shipping companies, the majority of their trade activity actually happens outside of the EU.

“European shipowners call US and the counterparts to respect the principles of free trade and prevent a full scale trade war,” Dorsman concluded.

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