U.S. President Donald Trump will not apply new steel and aluminum tariffs to the European Union and other trading partners which are now negotiating exemptions, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Thursday.
The EU's Moscovici sought to reassure that "these proposals are neither a response to a French request nor a response against the United States". The tariffs are suspended until May 1 as discussions continue.
Despite the apparent climbdown toward Europe, Trump has sparked fresh trade war fears by imposing huge tariffs on Chinese imports with Beijing unveiling its own measures against USA goods.
Reporting from the summit, Euronews' Efi Koutsokosta said: "The EU leaders support the EU Commissioner's approach who wants a dialogue with the USA, to see how they can tackle together the steel overcapacity problem".
"We have argued, and I think successfully, that the EU is not a threat to the national security of the U.S.", European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told lawmakers at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday.
The leaders also said they supported steps taken by the European Commission to respond to the U.S. measures "as appropriate and in a proportionate manner".
The EU will unveil proposals for a digital tax on USA tech giants on Wednesday, bringing yet more turmoil to Facebook after revelations over misused data of 50 million users shocked the world.More news: Metal tariffs suspended for key U.S. trade partners
Stock markets dived again on Friday as Donald Trump faced a barrage of criticism for launching a $60bn (£42bn) package of tariffs on Chinese goods, sparking fears of a global trade war. "These discussions between allies and partners should not be subject to artificial deadlines".
The EU has spent the past several weeks scrambling for a waiver from the USA metal tariffs while warning that a failure to gain one would lead to a tit-for-tat response on 2.8 billion euros ($3.5 billion) of imports of US goods including Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles, Levi Strauss & Co. jeans and bourbon whiskey.
German industry, aware that Trump has warned he could raise duties on European Union cars, welcomed the reprieve but said the threat of a trade war had not disappeared. "There still is one point we need to clarify - is the exemption conditional and if so what are these conditions", said Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that Europe had shown itself united in its support of free trade and rejection of protectionism.
Europe says it wants to avert a trade war but the European Commission has proposed a series of measures if the White House hits EU producers.
"That's a odd way to negotiate with an ally".
A spokesperson said: "We welcome today's proposals and we will continue to work with both the European Union and the OECD to tackle the challenge of taxation in the digital economy".