Trump hits Canada, Mexico, EU with steel, aluminum tariffs

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has warned Europe its new privacy laws could hurt the continent with less communication coming from America including vital alerts about possible disease outbreaks

Trump's global trade war

Trudeau's comments came after President Donald Trump enacted the most severe economic penalties he has imposed to date against USA allies, establishing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

Canada, Mexico and the European Union were among the countries granted relief while the United States pursued negotiations to address the administration's concerns about the state of domestic steel and aluminum production.

Trudeau said the Trump move will hurt US interests.

Meanwhile, shares of big metal consumers including planemaker Boeing and heavy machinery maker Caterpillar declined about 1.5 per cent each.

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.

"We tried to do it through negotiation and we will now do it by standing together and formulating a common European answer, possibly working more closely with Mexico and Canada", he said, adding he hoped this would make Trump rethink. Canada and Mexico have retaliated while the European Union says its own reprisals are ready to go.

In retaliation to the United States' tariff announcement, Canada has threatened to impose tariffs of up to $16.6 billion on some steel and aluminum products and other goods from the US - including gherkins and condiments - beginning July 1.

On March 23, U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a 25-per-cent tariff on steel imports and a 10-per-cent tariff on aluminum, but had granted temporary exemptions to Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the EU, Australia and Argentina.

According to their justification, imports can reduce America's domestic production capacity and the country could find itself in a "situation where the United States would be unable to meet demand for national defense and critical infrastructure in a national emergency".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had earmarked climate change, women's rights and economic growth as key issues, but there has been pushback from Washington.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire termed the U.S. tariffs as "unjustified unjustifiable and dangerous".

Mexico complained that the tariffs will "distort global trade" and said it will penalize U.S. imports including pork, apples, grapes, cheeses and flat steel.

One effect of today's developments was further pressure on the peso, which fell to its weakest level in 15 months.

The EU has threatened tariffs on Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon, measures aimed at the political bases of US Republican legislators.

A second batch of American exports worth around €3.7 billion ($4.3 billion) a year could eventually be targeted.

The trade actions have also opened the United States to criticism that it was burning bridges just as Mr Trump was seeking to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons and help stabilise the Middle East. "Canada is a secure supplier of aluminum and steel to the USA defense industry, putting aluminum in American planes and steel in American tanks". Mexico was the third largest, behind South Korea. The two countries are partners in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and NORAD.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Lange said he would like to see tariffs imposed on "symbolic" U.S. products such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

And Ross also said there's still scope for negotiations with Canada, Mexico and the European Union that could reduce or eliminate the tariffs.

Latest News