Allies hit back at Trump’s steel, aluminium tariffs

Casey Dawson
June 3, 2018

He made the comment while outlining Canada's response to USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. "We look forward to continued negotiations, both with Canada and Mexico on the one hand, and with the European Commission on the other hand, because there are other issues that we also need to get resolved", U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said.

Germany's Volkswagen, Europe's largest automaker, warned that the United States action could start a trade war that no side would win.

"We can not let any country force our companies to surrender this hard-earned knowledge at its border", EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom said.

That from Brussels, as the United States slaps tariffs on imports of steel and aluminium from the bloc. The EU is also planning a legal challenge via the WTO.

But he exempted Canada, Mexico and the European Union to buy time for negotiations - a reprieve that expired at midnight on Thursday.

He says NAFTA has been "a very lousy deal" for the USA and says, "they're our allies but they take advantage of us economically".

WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS Canada, Mexico and the European Union retaliated against USA tariffs on steel and aluminium with levies on billions of dollars of USA goods - from orange juice and whiskey to blue jeans and Harley Davidson bikes. The list includes roughly 160 products such as United States sunbeds, paper towels, corduroy trousers and porcelain tableware that could face European Union tariffs between 10% to 50%.

On Thursday, Trudeau hit back at punishing United States tariffs on steel and aluminium with Can$16.6 billion (US$12.8 billion) in duties on U.S. goods, and accused American President Donald Trump of lacking "common sense".

"This is a bad day for world trade".

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Already under fire for his combative trade policies, President Trump on Friday intensified pressure on Canada, demanding that America's neighbor and close ally "open their markets and take down trade barriers". "The American administration has made a decision today that we deplore, and obviously is going to lead to retaliatory measures, as it must", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

The US decided the tariffs in March, but gave Canada and the European Union - the biggest sources of foreign aluminium and steel for the US - a grace period that ended on May 31.

Justifying US steel tariffs based on national security concerns is "grotesque", according to Germany's steel industry association.

"Canada is a secure supplier of aluminum and steel to the U.S. defense industry, putting aluminum in American planes and steel in American tanks", Trudeau said. Canada unveiled a package of counter-tariffs on United States imports valued at Can$16.6 billion (US$12.8 billion).

Justin Trudeau says he abandoned a proposed meeting with Donald Trump in Washington this week after the White House insisted that the prime minister first agree to a five-year "sunset clause" in a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement.

She added: "This is further weakening the transatlantic relations and it also increases the risk of severe turbulences in the markets globally".

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that no reprisals over the measure will have an impact on the American economy.

The EU has already issued a 10-page list of tariffs on USA goods ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to bourbon.

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