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Trump to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada as of midnight

31 May, 2018, 19:29 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • President Trump plans to impose steel, aluminum tariffs on the European Union

Dieter Kempf, president of the Federation of German Industries, said in an interview aired Thursday by public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that he predicts a "trade spiral" as a result of the tariffs.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced earlier Thursday that President Trump has made a decision to slap hefty tariffs on the EU, Mexico and Canada, ending the temporary exemptions for the key trading allies despite their two months of lobbying to avoid the tariffs.

Despite the EU's reticence to enter a trade war, Juncker said the decision could not go "without any kind of reaction".

After weeks of negotiation, the Trump administration put steep tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum today.

Britain said it was "deeply disappointed" by the decision from the USA and claimed it should be permanently exempted from the tariff measures. "This is protectionism, pure and simple".

Steel and aluminum stocks surged initially, but pared gains. U.S. Steel climbed 3%.

Last week, Trump said that Canada is "very spoiled" and "very hard to deal with" in North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.

The countries are major USA steel and aluminum suppliers and both considered the threat of tariffs to be an irritant at best, an insult at worst.

There had been a temporary exemption granted on the 25pc levy on steel and 10pc on aluminum for the European Union and others.


Before the tariffs were announced, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Canadian government would take steps to protect jobs and industry, calling the United States justification "frankly absurd".

The EU had demanded a permanent exemption from the tariffs following a temporary one being granted in April, but the plea has been rejected by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Trump imposed the tariffs in March to address global oversupply of the metals, but though it was largely aimed at China it hit United States allies as well.

Ross told a conference call with media this morning that he is looking forward to continuing negotiations.

Trump imposed the tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum using a national security justification, which Ross said encompasses a broad array of economic issues.

European Union leaders have said they will not negotiate with the United States on trade while the tariff issue is unresolved or, as France's President Macron has put it, while they have a gun pointing at their head. European officials argue that tit-for-tat tariffs will hurt growth on both sides of the Atlantic and Canada said before the announcement that it would respond in kind.

Canada was the largest exporter of steel to the United States by value previous year, according to data from Wood Mackenzie. But Canada and Mexico were reportedly stunned by the move.

Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron made their cases separately Wednesday to dissuade Trump, who is using a national-security clause in USA trade law to justify the move.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who pushed the steel and NAFTA issues during her meeting on Tuesday in Washington with US trade czar Robert Lighthizer, has also made it clear that Canada would retaliate if the duties are imposed.

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