Trump to hit EU, Canada and Mexico with steel and aluminium tariffs

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hints a trade war could be the result of new EU privacy laws given that the regulations include'unnecessary barriers to trade. If that happens it would be an additional front in a global trade war the President Donald Trum

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it is moving forward with tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods as punishment for intellectual property theft.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters on a telephone briefing that a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from the EU, Canada and Mexico would go into effect at midnight.

Some stocks of US companies that could be adversely affected by the tariffs, or by possible retaliatory action against the USA, headed down.

"We are very concerned that these unjustified unilateral measures put at risk the many industrial clusters, innovation hubs and transatlantic synergies we share with the U.S.", European Aluminum, an organization that advocates for the industry at the the E.U. level, said in a statement.

"The UK and other European Union countries are close allies of the United States and should be permanently and fully exempted from the American measures on steel and aluminium".

"This is protectionism, pure and simple", he said.

Mr Stace admitted that there was a problem of global over-capacity in the steel industry, but said most of that was in China. It is the top buyer of US aluminum and the second buyer of USA steel, the economy ministry said. U.S. Steel (X) rose 3.6%, Steel Dynamics (STLD) pulled back to a 0.6% gain.

But in the case of Canada and Mexico, he said the decision was based on making progress in the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement talks, and there is no resolution in sight.

Steel producers across the European Union were granted a temporary exemption from the tariffs while the USA tried to persuade the European Union to cut steel production or make other concessions. "It's not that we can't talk just because there's tariffs".

European Union countries have given broad support to the Commission's plan to set duties on 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) of US exports, including whiskey and motorbikes, if Washington ends the European Union tariff exemption.

The Trump administration announced Thursday it will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe, Mexico and Canada after failing to win concessions from the American allies.

Trump imposed the steel and aluminum penalties under a 1962 law that gives the president broad power to increase or reduce tariffs on goods deemed critical to national security.

Prior to Ross's announcement, a senior Canadian official, speaking on condition of anonymity citing the sensitivity of the situation, confirmed Canada has prepared a list of US products that might face retaliatory tariffs, but declined to give further details.

Mexico has also announced retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports including pork bellies, apples, grapes, cheese and flat steel, according to a statement from Mexico's Economy Ministry.

The United States negotiated voluntary export limits with several other friendly nations, including South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil.

Ross, meanwhile, said that he still plans to leave for China on Friday for the resumption of trade talks. Given the delicate nature of these issues, which have vast implications for Mexico and Canada's economies, Trump's saber rattling may hurt more than help according to Alden. Although Germany is the eighth largest source of steel imports for the United States, the US market amounts to a low single-digit percentage of the overall German steel industry.

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