Trump takes aim at Canada as European Union protests his tariffs

03 June, 2018, 18:23 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The administration's actions drew fire from Europe, Canada and Mexico and promises to quickly retaliate against U.S. exports.

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

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to soothe the frustrations of his Group of Seven counterparts over the 25 percent steel and 10 percent aluminum tariffs that Washington imposed on Mexico, Canada and the European Union this week.

German MEP Bernd Lange, who chairs the European Union's worldwide trade committee, has said the tariffs are "illegal" and insisted the EU would "make some countermeasures, no doubt about".

That's going to cook Trump's goose, considering when he first proposed the tariffs, he stated that the move was an attempt to bring jobs back to the Land of the Free, stressing that it would also help to prevent trade arrangements that failed to benefit the US.

President Trump on Saturday blasted critics who accused him of starting a trade war, saying the USA has been losing the trade war for years.

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In Washington on Friday, Trump mooted the possibility of scrapping the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement in favor of seeking bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico.

They have targeted goods manufactured in key USA political districts that could weaken Trump's hand after November's mid-term elections.

"Trade was discussed in the G7 in the context of risks to global economic growth and it was highlighted by quite a number of participants", Dombrovskis said.

The European Union (EU) on Friday requested consultations with the United States on its steel and aluminum tariffs, under the dispute settlement framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO), a WTO official said.

Italy's outgoing Premier Paolo Gentiloni on Thursday slammed the "unjustified" steel and aluminium tariffs to be imposed by the USA on Europe, Canada and Mexico at midnight. She said that China is to be blamed for the problems identified by the US, and not the EU.

"Canada is a secure supplier of aluminum and steel to the US defense industry, putting aluminum in American planes and steel in American tanks", Trudeau said.

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The US will place quotas or volume limits on steel and aluminium from Australia and Argentina.

India on the other hand exports Dollars 761 million worth of steel to the USA, which is 2.6 per cent of the total import.

A list of countermeasures would include tariffs on US metals and food products such as yogurt, pizza and cucumbers, as well as household products like mattresses and refrigerators. Debbie Shon, a partner at the law firm Quinn Emanuel and a former official in the US Trade Representative's office under President Bill Clinton, told Business Insider that the exact value of the tariffs doesn't have to be exactly the same.

"It makes it really hard to believe that deliberations are in good faith if you're taking capricious actions like this that really hurt the other parties", he said.

The six other members and the European Union all voiced opposition to the USA tariffs, Aso said after the second day of the talks.

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