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Forget China: US jumps headlong into trade war with allies

01 June 2018, 04:20 | Marta Robbins

Trump Administration Slaps New Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on Major Allies - Katie Pavlich

Trump Slaps Steel and Aluminum Tariffs on the E.U., Canada, and Mexico

The Trump administration delivered a gut punch to America's closest allies Thursday, imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from Europe, Mexico and Canada in a move that drew immediate vows of retaliation.

"We will immediately introduce a settlement dispute with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and will announce counterbalancing measures in the coming hours".

The tariffs represented the latest tactic in Trump's "America First" agenda, which has unnerved traders and investors and raised the spectre of a trade war involving the US and China - the world's two largest economies - as well as other key nations. "It is entirely inappropriate to view any trade with Canada as a national security threat to the United States", she said.

Perrin Beatty, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said Canada should not walk away from the NAFTA table.

The United States is pressing Beijing to move away from industrial policies that critics say subsidize Chinese companies on the global stage and pressure foreign firms to hand over key technologies.

According to Navarro, the president's decision to end the exemptions is not about China or unfair trade but more about defending the USA against countries who are running a large trade surplus at the expense of American jobs.

A Trump administration investigation earlier this year concluded that the volume of steel and aluminium imports threatened USA national security by undermining domestic production.

"We are deeply disappointed that the U.S. has made a decision to apply tariffs to steel and aluminium imports from the European Union on national security grounds".

George said Canada will still work in good faith with the US on renegotiating NAFTA, as it's critically important for all three countries to come out of negotiations with a deal that benefits all parties.

"That means that we have the ability to put tariffs on their goods and there is very little that they can put tariffs on or retaliate against in terms of our trade with them".

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Huge tariffs imposed by Donald Trump on the EU, Canada and Mexico have come into force today.

Ross, meanwhile, said that he still plans to leave for China on Friday for the resumption of trade talks.

"They don't quite understand this is going to harm Americans" as well, he said. But he exempted Canada, Mexico and the European Union to buy time for negotiations - a reprieve set to expire at midnight Thursday.

"This is something that has been imposed by the U.S., we didn't ask for it".

According to Freeland, the tariffs were the "strongest action by Canada in the post-War era". "It's not in our interests, it's not in the EU's interests, and it's not in the interest of American workers". While the trade war is looming, the USA administration is looking into another measure which could cause multi-billion losses to the European economy: evaluating a 25% import tax on cars.

The tariffs will hit products such as plated steel, slabs, coil, rolls of aluminium, tubes and raw materials that are used across manufacturing, construction and the oil sector in America.

"European steel and aluminium exports to the United States can not be seen as a threat to their internal security". Dissatisfied with the negotiations, Trump lifted the exemptions, in a move likely to provoke counteraction from trade allies.

She was the latest European politician to hit back at the U.S. decision, which has was described by President Emmanuel Macron of France as a "mistake" and the worldwide trade secretary, Liam Fox, as "patently absurd". It empowers the president to restrict imports and impose unlimited tariffs if the Commerce Department sees a threat to national security.

When faced with foreign competitors who are now obligated to raise their prices by 25 per cent, Bradford and others say US companies will likely match that price hike and pocket the difference.

This is the logic that makes mutually ruinous trade wars, once started, so hard to control.



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