Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Trump slaps steel tariffs on closest allies as trade tensions rise

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire left welcomes US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross prior to their meeting at French Economy Ministry in Paris France Thursday US imposes tariffs on EU, Mexico and Canada
| 02 June, 2018, 08:22

Trudeau said he spoke with US President Donald Trump last week and offered to fly to Washington and sit down with him to hammer out the "final details of NAFTA because there were broad lines of a decent win-win-win deal on the table".

Trump's decision could raise prices for Americans on a range of everyday products. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom added that the USA, through months of negotiations, threatened steep tariffs in order to obtain trade concessions from the EU. Trudeau said the tariffs were not created to hurt the American people, but rather defend Canada's interests and send a message to the Trump administration.

Trudeau said that in NAFTA talks, Canada, the United States and Mexico had come so close to a deal he had offered to meet Trump in Washington. But she left having made little progress in discussions and having little idea of what the Trump administration's plans were, two sources briefed on the meeting said. It could also place the United States in a trade dispute on more than one front.

The measures will cover goods beyond aluminum and steel.

The European Union is planning to answer U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum by hiking tariffs on various goods coming from America.

A Commerce Department investigation earlier this year determined a need to ensure adequate USA steel production capacity to supply the military.

The tariffs will hit US steel and aluminum coming into Canada, but also a variety of other goods such as whiskey, toilet paper and maple syrup.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had traveled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss the issue, among other matters, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. But the broader market sank because of trade war fears. Trudeau says he would still be happy to come down and see the president if there are no pre-conditions set.


The US tariffs coincide with and could complicate the Trump administration's separate fight over Beijing's strong-arm tactics to overtake US technological supremacy and negotiations to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He also imposed a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. Mexico was the third largest, behind South Korea. Both parties had previously said that tariffs would be put on hold as talks continued.

All three quickly responded with threats of tariffs on United States goods.

Ross is scheduled to go to China this weekend for a third round of negotiations.

The US administration also launched a national security investigation last week into vehicle and truck imports, using the same 1962 law it has applied to curb incoming steel and aluminium.

Industry experts have warned that EU retaliation could encourage the Trump administration to strike back with more trade barriers on items like European cars.

Such an action could hurt Mexico, Canada, Germany and Japan.

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