United States to slap tariffs on steel, aluminium from European Union on Thursday

May 31, 2018, 17:43

Canada and Mexico had been exempted from the tariffs announced last March while negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, continued.

The decision sparks new concerns of a trade war with three of the United States' most important trading partners.

Two sources said Canada has prepared detailed options for retaliation, including an investigation into steel dumping from several countries, including the United States, with the possibility of imposing its own tariffs.

The Trump administration announced that the U.S will impose tariffs on steel, aluminum imports from Europe, Canada and Mexico, as a previously designated exemption expires tonight at midnight.

Besides the US steel and aluminum tariffs, the Trump administration is also investigating possible limits on foreign cars in the name of national security.

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The move, which President Trump has threatened for months, is likely to provoke retaliation from the European Union, which has pledged to counter with tariffs on American staples including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levi's jeans and bourbon whiskey.

They said the announcement was planned for Thursday morning in Washington but that the timing could still change.

The Trump administration imposed the duties on imports from most other USA trading partners earlier this year to stem a flood of cheap steel and aluminum into the country.

EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Thursday the European side is "ready to deal with any kind of scenario, and to defend the EU interests and worldwide trade law". NAFTA negotiations are deadlocked over tough protectionist demands from the United States. The United States rejected the offers.

The harsh duties imposed in March to combat global overcapacity of the metals and boost domestic production, were only among a flurry of different developments, coinciding with a political crisis in Italy, which this week has roiled markets.

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

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association of Canada, echoed Ms. Freeland.

Ross said the White House would need to see the reactions of Canada, Mexico and the 28-nation European bloc before determining what to do next. "How do you sit at the centre of the global economy and behave this way?"

Washington will announce plans to impose tariffs on European Union steel and aluminium imports as early as Thursday, two sources said, while a magazine reported President Donald Trump was now focused on pushing German cars from the country.

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