Mexico strikes back after U.S. announces tariffs on steel, aluminum

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Washington will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico from midnight on Thursday, ending months of uncertainty over potential exemptions and sharply escalating the risk of a trade war. But the tariffs aren't popular among pro-trade lawmakers in Trump's own Republican Party.

"We are deeply disappointed that the USA has made a decision to apply tariffs to steel and aluminium imports from the European Union on national security grounds", a government spokesman said. Canada also offered aid immediately after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. "That Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States is inconceivable".

France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had met with Ross on Thursday in a bid to end the stand-off over steel and aluminum, a move that ultimately failed to sway the USA administration. "This is not an action against them, it's simply an action to defend our industries as President Trump said he would".

Mexico quickly said the USA action was not justified, and vowed to retaliate with comparable penalties on American lamps, pork, fruit, cheese and flat steel. Canada's planned retaliatory measures will take effect July 1 and stay in place until the USA backs down. "We are ready to rebuild this multilateralism with our American friends", he said.

FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump is after signing a proclamation to establish tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 8, 2018.

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

Jean Simard says Americans will continue to pay a premium to purchase aluminum in addition to the new tariff as suppliers are likely to pass the price increase on to consumers.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said the bloc would move ahead with tariffs that are expected to affect roughly $7.5 billion worth of USA exports.

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

He also imposed a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

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Susan Danger, CEO of the American Chambers of Commerce to the European Union, said she is "very concerned by the damage a tit-for-tat dispute would cause to the transatlantic economy and its impact on jobs, investment and security across the Atlantic". "It's going to distort and damage and disrupt supply chains which have been established now for decades", she said.

NAFTA negotiations are "taking longer than we had hoped".

"And, in the case of the United Kingdom, where we send steel to the United States that is vital for their businesses and their defence industry, it is patently absurd".

Ross downplayed the threat of a trade war, calling the changes mere "blips on the radar" in an interview with broadcaster CNBC.

Institute CEO Jim McGreevy called the tariffs a new tax on the USA beer industry.

"These tariffs are hitting the wrong target", added House Ways and Means Committee chairman Kevin Brady, saying Europe, Mexico and Canada "are not the problem - China is".

The Trump administration has given permanent metals tariff exemptions to several countries including Australia, Argentina and South Korea, but in each case set import quotas.

"This is the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era", Freeland said.

Tata Steel, which employs 8,500 people across the United Kingdom, has called for "swift and robust action" in response to the steel tariffs.