The European Union is sure that as the US ally and biggest trading partner, it will avoid the new US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said.
"We are confident, we hope, that there will be a total exemption of the European Union from the US decision (to impose tariffs on) imports of aluminium and steel," Gentiloni said in Brussels on Thursday.
"We are especially interested on the discussion on trade, especially transatlantic trade. Italy has always been a supporter of free - and naturally fair - trade. It is in our economic interests," he said.
US trade representative Robert Lighthizer said on Thursday that several American allies would initially be exempt from the controversial steel and aluminium tariffs that are to take effect shortly.
The EU, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea would be initially exempted from the tariffs, Lighthizer told a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee in Washington. (IANS)