U.S. levies steel, aluminum tariffs on allies, risks trade war


The Trump administration launched a national security investigation last week into auto and truck imports, using the same 1962 law that he has applied to curb incoming steel and aluminum.

The tariffs were first announced in March as a security measure and believed to be targeting China.

And despite the picking and choosing of which allies that the US decides to slap with these tariffs, Ross defended the USA legal justification that they are being implemented under law meant to protect US national security. Canada also offered aid immediately after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Working through affiliated business groups, Ring says the local chamber has worked hard to make local views on steel tariffs known not only provincially and nationally, but also in the United States. The EU believes these unilateral U.S. tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organisation rules. "With the expiration of the European Union exemption now confirmed to take effect tomorrow [June 1], unfortunately, our pessimism was justified, and we will now see damage not only to the United Kingdom steel sector but also the USA economy".

European officials had assumed that Trump would follow through with duties on their exports (negotiations over the Iran deal having already convinced them that trying to dissuade the USA president from scoring diplomatic own-goals was a futile enterprise).

The measures, which target pork legs, apples, grapes and cheese as well as steel and other products, will be in place until the USA government eliminates its tariffs, Mexico's Economy Ministry said.

Brazil, Argentina and Australia have agreed to limit steel shipments to the U.S.in exchange for being spared the tariffs, the Commerce Department said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland are scheduled to speak to reporters in Ottawa at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday.

It said the administration's actions "underscore its commitment to good-faith negotiations with our allies to enhance our national security while supporting American workers".

Then, soon after they were announced, the administration gave exemptions to most major American allies, including the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

Trudeau is hosting this year's G-7 summit in early June and President Trump is expected to attend.

"We continue to be quite willing and indeed eager to have discussions with all those parties", Mr Ross said.

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Commenting on the exchange, commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmström said: "Today is a bad day for world trade".

Mexico responded it would levy penalties on a list of us goods, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU would do the same.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, left, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross arrive to attend a meeting at the Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, May 31, 2018.

The US announced steel and aluminum tariffs this morning.

The UK said: "We will continue to work closely with the European Union and US Administration to achieve a permanent exemption, and to ensure that UK workers are protected and safeguarded".

In terms of the NAFTA talks, the tariffs could hinder the negotiations among the North American neighbours.

The steel and aluminum levies and auto-import probe could play well with Trump voters in Rust Belt states in the lead-up to congressional midterms in November. Ross said there was "no longer a very precise date when they may be concluded and therefore (Canada and Mexico) were added into the list of those who will bear tariffs".

U.S. stocks have fallen since the news broke.

"It's not everyone attacking the other and we see who remains standing at the end", he said, declaring that the stiff United States duties were "unjustified, unjustifiable and risky". Manfred Weber, a key ally of the German chancellor and leader of the biggest bloc in the European Parliament, accused the Trump administration of treating American allies as enemies.

"Our other expectation is that the government of Canada will take immediate action to ensure that there is no diversion of steel from other countries".

But Macron said those "who waged bilateral trade wars. saw an increase in prices and an increase in unemployment".