The EU tariffs that are a response to US tariffs on aluminum and steel come into effect today, they are said to be worth 3.2 billion dollars source

How much steel and aluminum does the US import from EU countries? Is this a proportional response monetarily?

  • 2
    This is a question for Economics Stack Exchange. Jun 22, 2018 at 13:29
  • 1
    I don't have time to write an answer right now, but a great source for information on international trade volumes is the Observatory of Economic Complexity from the MIT. Unfortunately the information you want is spread over multiple product groups and multiple countries.
    – Philipp
    Jun 22, 2018 at 13:55
  • @Philipp - given the topic, hopefully someone already combed through primary sources and totaled (WSJ or some other economics-oriented publication?)
    – user4012
    Jun 22, 2018 at 15:28
  • The raw data is available at census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/country/sitc/index.html but an EU total requires adding up totals for each of the EU countries which are listed separately in each category and adding up several categories which can be located with control-F. I do not have the time to do that. Total imports from the EU are about $282 billion (USD) per year, and steel and aluminum make up a pretty modest share of the total, so at the order of magnitude level, it is fairly proportional.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 22, 2018 at 15:39
  • FWIW, in my view this is on topic for Politics.SE because the raw data about the import and export value is tied to whether this is a proportionate response which is a political question.
    – ohwilleke
    Jun 22, 2018 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


EU exports of steel to the United States in 2017 were worth 5.3 billion euros ($6.53 billion) and of aluminum 1.1 billion euros.

From Reuters.

The aluminum imports convert from 1.1 billion euros to $1.36 billion (USD). So, the total value of US imports of steel and aluminum from the EU in U.S. dollars is $7.89 billion. Given rounding errors and hour to hour shifts in exchange rates it would be fair to call it 8 billion U.S. dollars.

So, the EU retaliatory tariffs are being imposed on about 40% of the dollar value of goods subjected to U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The U.S. tariffs are 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum, so that is about $1.77 billion on a non-dynamic basis (of course, the whole point of the tariffs is to reduce imports relative to domestic production).

Whether or not this is proportionate depends, in part, on the rate charged on the retaliatory tariffs on the $3.2 billion of U.S. goods imported to the EU. Tariffs of 50% would have an equal dollar value on a non-dynamic basis. According to the link above, the proposed EU tariffs appear to be 25% which would be about half the amount of the U.S. tariffs on EU imports on a non-dynamic basis.

So, yes, it is proportional, and indeed a less extreme set of retaliatory tariffs than the tariffs imposed in the first place by the U.S.

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