U.S. set to impose tariffs on steel from Canada, EU, Mexico

U.S. set to impose tariffs on steel from Canada, EU, Mexico

The second exemption was set to expire on Friday.

Mexico announced its response to the current set of US measures earlier in the day, picking on pork legs, apples, grapes, cheese and steel.

But the US Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross announced today that the tariffs will apply to the European Union - as well as Canada and Mexico - from midnight.

The tariffs, which have prompted several challenges at the WTO, are aimed at allowing the US steel and aluminium industries to increase their capacity utilization rates above 80 percent for the first time in years. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that "Our US friends must know that if they were to take aggressive actions against Europe, Europe would not be without reaction". Some observers say a G6-plus-one scenario is already shaping up, with Trump as the outlier.

Earlier this week, the administration also announced additional tariffs on China in an effort to combat the theft of US intellectual property and technology.

"There can be negotiations with or without tariffs in place".

It prompted threats of retaliation from the European Union on United States products before the policy was abandoned.

South Korea negotiated a steel quota, while Argentina, Australia and Brazil have arranged for "limitations on the volume they can ship to the United States in lieu of tariffs", Ross said.

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who will be at the G7 table with the seven other country leaders, expressed strong opposition to Thursday's decision. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. "We've been down this road before-blanket protectionism is a big part of why America had a Great Depression".

Trump invoked a 1962 trade law to erect protections for United States steel and aluminium producers on national security grounds, amid a worldwide glut of both metals that is largely blamed on excess production in China. "There is no longer a very precise date when they may be concluded" so they were added to the tariff list, he said.

In March, Trump imposed a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminium, but granted temporary exemptions to the EU, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and Argentina.

Donald Trump's move to slap penalties on imports from USA allies including the European Union is moving the country to the brink of a global trade war as the White House tries to wrest concessions from trading partners that are threatening to retaliate.

"We will consider whatever actions they do take but our focus is as mentioned on national security aspects of steel and aluminum", he said.

Europe also said it would start the process for enacting retaliatory tariffs. "One can think about making voters happy by saying, 'I have a victory, I'll change the rules, you'll see'".

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is due to hold meetings with his European counterparts to discuss President Donald Trump's confrontational trade agenda, officials said.

He reiterated the USA concerns over the indirect flow of cheap Chinese steel into the US through other countries.

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