Trump's 25% steel tariff angers world leaders and business
Trump's 25% steel tariff angers world leaders and business
Trump slaps steel tariffs on closest allies as tensions rise
31 May, 2018, 22:24
Europe and Mexico pledged to retaliate quickly, exacerbating trans-Atlantic and North American trade tensions.
"This is the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era".
Trump's legal authority for imposing the tariffs rests on the claim that America's reliance on foreign steel is a threat to its national security.
The European Commission tweeted that the tariffs represented "protectionism, pure and simple".
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the steel and aluminum tariffs were "totally unacceptable" and a violation of a centuries-old relationship between the USA and Canada.
"We expect immediate retaliation from the European Union, which, on a net basis, to us serves no positive economic goal", KeyBanc analyst Philip Gibbs said in a note.
The decision sparks new concerns of a trade war with three of the United States' mostimportant trading partners.
Le Maire warned that the European Union would take "all necessary measures" if the USA imposed the tariffs. "This is not an action against them, it's simply an action to defend our industries as President Trump said he would".
The three close US allies had been part of a small group of foreign governments that received temporary exemptions from the tariffs, until trade deals could be signed.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said there will be a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum.
And Britain, which has hopes of agreeing a trade liberalisation deal with the United States after Brexit, expressed alarm at Ross's announcement.
"This is a bad day for world trade", he said in response.
European officials, bracing for the tariffs, have threatened to retaliate against US orange juice, peanut butter, kitchenware, clothing and footwear, washing machines, textiles, whiskey, motorcycles, boats and batteries. Ross said that he intends to continue talks with European diplomats and officials from Canada and Mexico, but those are likely to be contentious.
Tariffs might protect some jobs in the U.S. steel industry, but far fewer than the number of jobs that will be lost.
For the past couple of months, it has looked like a trade war might be avoided, Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments, wrote in a note distributed early Thursday morning.
Should the tit-for-tat escalate further, Trump might choose to impose tariffs on the European vehicle industry - which would hit Germany hardest.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said the surcharges will total $16.6 billion on USA steel, aluminum and other products. This will force them to cut jobs, economists and industry officials say. South Korea also received a permanent exemption from steel tariffs, having negotiated instead an absolute quota equivalent to 70 percent of 2015-2017 imports. "We will respond appropriately", she said.
The bloc's response will be "united and firm", French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned. We think on the contrary that global trade must have rules in a context of multilateralism.
"The UK and other European Union countries are close allies of the U.S. and should be permanently and fully exempted from the American measures on steel and aluminium". Noting her discussions with US officials, she said.
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