Trudeau, Macron, Europe deplore 'illegal' Trump tariff decision

Trudeau, Macron, Europe deplore 'illegal' Trump tariff decision

Mexico hit back fast on US tariffs on steel and aluminum on Thursday, targeting products from congressional districts that President Donald Trump's Republican party is fighting to retain in November elections.

Freeland says the dollar-for-dollar countermeasures, which apply to a long list of US products from flat-rolled steel to playing cards and felt-tipped pens, will go into effect July 1.

And Canada levied a surtax on $16.6 billion of American steel, aluminum and other products, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pronounced Trump's claim to be protecting national security an "affront" to Canadians who fought alongside American GIs from World War II to Afghanistan.

He said he would speak to United States commerce secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday but added the United Kingdom "absolutely do not rule out counter-measures".

The tariffs will hit US steel and aluminum coming into Canada, but also a variety of other goods such as whiskey, toilet paper and maple syrup.

President Trump is imposing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum from three of America's biggest trading partners - Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Speaking on Friday morning, Germany's economy minister Peter Altmaier said he hoped that a decisive response from the European Union would prompt the United States president to think again.

Eric Miller, of the Washington-based Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, said it is possible to move forward with NAFTA on a separate track from the tariff dispute.

"If the USA thinks this, in some way, will soften up Canada's position or make it want to give concessions to resolve the NAFTA, they are misunderstanding the situation", he said.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the president acted on national security grounds, seeing a rising tide of imports as a threat to the domestic metals industry.

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".

United States firms in China still fear a trade war
But on Wednesday, Trump reversed and signaled that he still planned to impose $50 million in tariffs on Chinese imports . The final tariff list will be made public by June 15 with the new import taxes taking effect shortly thereafter.

Ross, meanwhile, said that he still plans to leave for China on Friday for the resumption of trade talks.

Trump justified the tariffs by claiming steel and aluminium producers are vital to national security and that United States wanted to be "fair" by introducing the measures.

The British government said it was "deeply disappointed" and the United Kingdom and other European Union countries "should be permanently and fully exempted" from the tariffs. He justified the tariffs by arguing that U.S. producers are vital to national security and were threatened by a global supply glut.

He said: "If there were to ever be a trade war which is what so many people are calling this, the U.S. would stand to win". David O'Sullivan, the EU's ambassador in Washington, said the retaliation will probably be announced in late June. We're at the front door of a trade war.

The euro reversed earlier gains as inflation in the eurozone rose to the ECB's target in May, fueled by a huge increase in oil prices as the USA made a decision to pull out of a nuclear deal with Iran.

These items include yogurt, coffee, sugar, toilet paper, sailboats, mattresses, washing machines and lawn mowers - all aimed at exerting pressure on key U.S. states that export a lot to Canada.

"Our steel and aluminum industries are a source of critical supply for American manufacturers and its defence industry".

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, told Fox News: "The president's actions are about protecting American steel, American aluminum".

US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue warned in a letter to the body's board, and seen by Reuters, that current trade policies could threaten "economic progress" and cause the loss of more than 2 million jobs, mostly in states that voted for Trump and Republican candidates.

"Unilateral responses and threats over trade war will solve nothing of the serious imbalances in world trade".

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