Allies hit back at Trump’s steel, aluminium tariffs

Posted June 04, 2018

"If the Government had any doubt as to how "special" our relationship with the USA is to President Trump then these tariffs make it clear that even close allies will not be spared from his America First policies".

"These tariffs are a new US$347 million tax on the USA beer industry", CEO Jim McGreevy said in a statement.

The world's largest economies stood on the brink of all-out trade war as the EU, Canada and Mexico drew up retaliatory measures to Washington's stinging steel and aluminium tariffs that came into effect on Friday.

"Everyone expressed their complete incomprehension of the American decisions and everyone said it was up to the Americans to take the next step since they were the ones who imposed the tariffs". Canada and its European allies have spent recent days making a concerted effort to head off the move.

The EU plans to tax things like whiskey and Harley motorcycles as it strikes back at the US.

Bruno Le Maire, France's finance and economy minister, was blunt in his assessment of the Whistler meeting, where ministers confronted Mnuchin.

"The probability of a cold trade war turning hot has now risen, but still remains a worst case scenario".

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Mexico's ministry of economy pledged to impose equivalent measures, and included a partial list of USA goods that would face tariffs, including pork bellies, cheese, and produce such as grapes and apples.

Trump confirmed on Thursday tariffs of 25% and 10% on steel and aluminium exports to the USA respectively, from Europe, Canada and Mexico.

Malmstrom said over-production from China, not Europe, was to blame for the glut of steel that prompted the United States action.

The tariffs, announced by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, ended months of uncertainty about potential exemptions and suggested a hardening of the US approach to trade negotiations.

The U.S. tariffs coincide with - and could complicate - the Trump administration's separate fight over Beijing's strong-arm tactics to overtake U.S. technological supremacy.

"We have a huge problem with the American government, with the White House", Moisi said. USA trading partners had demanded that the exemptions be extended or made permanent.

Following Saturday's conclusion of a three-day meeting of G7 finance ministers, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau issued a summary saying the other six members want Trump to hear their message of "concern and disappointment" over the USA trade actions.

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Even some Trump allies in Congress said the trade moves were misguided.

Janzen said the steel and aluminum tariffs are a unique result of Trump policies whereas softwood lumber has been an irritant for decades.

Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the USA can help local producers of the metals by making foreign products more expensive.

Brussels and Ottawa on Friday filed legal challenges at the World Trade Organization against Washington's decision.

Meanwhile, the OECD says threatened new trade barriers and rising oil prices could hurt long-awaited global economic growth. "This is exactly what happened in the 1930s", Macron said.

In a clear reference to Trump, Macron added: "These solutions might bring symbolic satisfaction in the short term".

United Kingdom steel producers could be shut out of an American market where they sold around £350 million of exports previous year, while also facing increased competition from a "tsunami" of cheap steel diverted away from the U.S., he said. Dombrovskis reiterated the European Union position during the G7 meeting.

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The G7 ministers urged U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to deliver their message before leaders of the group's member countries meet next week in Quebec.