United States imposes steel, aluminum tariffs on EU, Canada, Mexico

Oscar PerryMay 31, 2018

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told French daily Le Figaro it would be announced either before markets opened or after they closed.

The European Union (EU) will impose "counter-balancing measures" after the United States announced tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the Canada, Mexico and the EU, the European Commission chief said.

Macron also proposed to start negotiations between the USA, the EU, China and Japan to reshape the World Trade Organization to better regulate trade.

"We will consider whatever actions they do take but our focus is as mentioned on national security aspects of steel and aluminum", he said. "We are ready to rebuild this multilateralism with our American friends", he said. "We continue to work closely with our European Union partners and will consider carefully the EU's proposals in response".

"We will now trigger a dispute settlement case at the WTO, since these U.S. measures clearly go against agreed worldwide rules".

US and European officials held last-ditch talks in Paris to try to reach a deal, though hopes are low and fears of a trade war are mounting.

During a speech in Brussels, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, promised to announce retaliatory sanctions later on Thursday.

"It's not everyone attacking the other and we see who remains standing at the end", he said, declaring that the stiff taxes would be "unjustified, unjustifiable and unsafe". "But we are also prepared to react".

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The UK government's spokesperson stated that Britain and other European Union countries are close allies of the United States and thus should be "permanently and fully exempted" from the USA metal tariffs.

Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough is shooting down the US administration citing national security as the reason for imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada. But, after exempting Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea, the nations that will be hurt the most are the US's closest allies.

The CBI's global director Ben Digby called President Trump's measures "deeply concerning for firms in the United Kingdom, for close trading partners and across supply chains".

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko on Thursday warned against such a measure, saying it would cause "serious turmoil in the global markets".

"These tariffs could lead to a protectionist domino effect, damaging firms, employees and consumers in the US, UK and many other trading partners".

Prior to Ross's announcement, a senior Canadian official, speaking on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the situation, confirmed Canada has prepared a list of USA products that might face retaliatory tariffs, but declined to give further details.

The EU says it's ready to retaliate with its own crackdown on USA imports like peanut butter and denim jeans. Our North American allies have been engaged in (what they had believed to be) earnest, productive discussions with the USA on reforming NAFTA, and had thus assumed that Washington would not unilaterally impose tariffs on them - let alone that it would so without providing any warning.

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