Trump tell allies to fix trade after U.S. tariffs strike

Trump tell allies to fix trade after U.S. tariffs strike

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross dropped a bombshell when he said Washington would proceed with 25 per cent tariffs on Canadian steel and 10 per cent tariffs on Canadian aluminum, using a national-security clause in U.S. trade law to justify the move. He estimated the US tariffs would affect $4 billion in trade between the two countries. The penalties will amount to a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

Germany's economy minister has said the European Union might look to coordinate its response with Canada and Mexico.

"The administration will continue to monitor steel and aluminum imports and adjust the measures in effect as necessary to protect the national security of the United States", the White House said. European Union exports potentially subject to United States duties are worth 6.4 billion euros.

Mexico buys more steel and aluminum from the United States than it sells.

Amid fears the tariffs will deal a huge blow to the struggling UK steel industry, some political figures and prominent UK journalists have flocked to Twitter to condemn the Brexiteers for putting the UK at risk of being "eaten alive" by trade tariffs once it leaves the EU.

European Union trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom says the bloc is taking China to the World Trade Organization over a dispute on intellectual property.

On Thursday, however, Trump announced that those exemptions were not being extended, and his decision immediately drew furious responses from Canadian President Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Canada and Mexico, embroiled in talks with the USA to modernise the North American Free Trade Agreement, responded swiftly.

Ottawa will also challenge the tariffs under NAFTA and World Trade Organisation rules, she said.

United States pork among products that will be affected by Mexican tariffs. The administration said foreign production of steel and aluminum has driven down prices and hurt USA producers, creating what the Commerce Department has called a national security threat.

EU members have given broad support to a European Commission plan to set duties on 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) of USA exports if Washington ends tariff exemptions.

What countries will still be exempt?

David O'Sullivan, the EU's ambassador in Washington, said the retaliation will probably be announced in late June.

The White House has sought to include a "sunset" provision in the NAFTA renegotiation for months, but Canada and Mexico have always been cool to the idea, saying it would remove any economic security and certainty for businesses trying to comply with trade rules.

Mexico announced it will retaliate with duties on USA products including fruit, pork bellies, cheese and flat steel.

"We should prevent a tsunami of cheap, low quality steel flooding the European market, now that it can't make its way to the U.S.", Tata Steel Netherlands director Theo Henrar told Reuters. The EU also started the process of filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization.

"He is trying to bully his trading partners into making concessions to America".

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