Trump hits Canada, Mexico, EU with steel and aluminum tariffs

Dwayne Harmon
May 31, 2018

Donald Trump's long-standing promise to use import tariffs to try to revive the United States steel and aluminum industry was opposed by U.S. economists, labor experts, and even the industries themselves-but the White House did it anyway.

The US has announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium from the European Union starting at midnight.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said talks with the European Union had made progress but not enough to continue the exemptions.

"We are alienating all of our friends and partners at a time when we could really use their support", said Wendy Cutler, a former USA trade negotiator who is now vice-president at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

Mr Fox said: "It's very disappointing that the United States has chosen to apply steel and aluminium tariffs. all in the name of national security". "This is not an action against them, it's simply an action to defend our industries as President Trump said he would".

During a conference call early Thursday, Ross shrugged off questions about the US facing possible retaliation, or whether the move would negatively affect the G7 meeting.

It prompted threats of retaliation from the European Union on U.S. products before the policy was abandoned.

"That Canada could be considered a national-security threat to the United States is inconceivable", said Trudeau, adding that the people of the USA are not Canada's target, and that the federal government would far prefer that its hand not be forced.

The EU said it would retaliate with tariffs on products like United States bourbon.

Alongside motorcycles, the EU has said it could slap additional tariffs on orange juice, whiskey and Levi's jeans, which would hit U.S. exporters and push up the cost of imports for European shoppers.

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President Donald Trump's administration has threatened to impose tariffs on auto imports, is engaged in negotiations with China to reduce America's yawning trade deficit and has said it will punish Beijing for stealing its technology by imposing tariffs on $50 billion of imports from China.

The Wall Street Journal said President Donald Trump was planning to go forward with tariffs on steel and aluminum imported to the USA from the European Union, Mexico, and Canada.

Fears of a global trade war are mounting as the Trump administration also considers tariffs on USA auto imports and duties on $50 billion in Chinese goods.

Stephanie Segal, deputy director of the Simon Chair in political economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Washington's many about-faces meant consensus in the near-term was an increasingly dim prospect.

EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Thursday the European side is "ready to deal with any kind of scenario, and to defend the EU interests and worldwide trade law". "The European Commission now needs to put in place protection measures on a provisional basis without delay".

"Trade is an area where President Trump's thinking and policy differs profoundly from most other Republicans", said longtime Republican operative Michael Steel.

Ross is scheduled to go to China this weekend for a third round of negotiations.

Some members of Cabinet met earlier in the day to decide on retaliatory measures.

"Let me be clear: These tariffs are totally unacceptable", Trudeau said.

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