European Union retaliates to Trump's tariffs

Europe economy

Canada and Mexico were temporarily exempted from blanket tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, with the Trump administration tying a permanent reprieve to a renewed North American Free Trade Agreement pact.

Keanin Loomis said Thursday "I don't even think that customs on the U.S. side really knows how to process this or what the instructions are from Washington. I think everybody will get over this in due course".

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross made the announcement during a call with reporters Thursday morning.

European Union officials previously informed the World Trade Organization of the bloc's plan to levy duties on $7.2 billion worth of US exports if the Trump administration proceeded with threats to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum.

Trump had taken a slightly less adversarial public approach with Canada and Mexico during the initial stages of the negotiations, but that ended several months ago.

The countermeasures will hit USA hot and cold rolled steel, plated steel and tubes, the ministry said.

Loomis says there are 10,000 jobs directly related to the production of steel in Hamilton and those support another 30,000 spin off jobs. "We believe these tariffs aren't compatible with WTO rules", she said in Lisbon.

Canada's integrated steel producers are the largest suppliers of imported steel into the United States, accounting for 16.1 per cent of all foreign steel entering the country. "That's why we consult", Freeland said Thursday. The probe was seen as an attempt to pressure Mexico and Canada over a NAFTA deal. "Canada is a secure supplier of aluminum and steel to the USA defense industry, putting aluminum in American planes and steel in American tanks".

Canada's government announced plans to impose tariffs on US steel, aluminum and other products, effective July 1, that will stay in effect as long as the American tariffs stay in place.

The US is to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from allies in Europe and North America.




It's already prepared $1.6 billion in retaliation against USA goods including steel, orange juice, motorcycles and bourbon whiskey.

Former Hamilton mayor Bob Bratina, now Liberal MP for Hamilton East - Stoney Creek, told the CBC that Hamilton steelmakers "are going to have to review their growth plans in the face of today's announcement". Both parties had previously said that tariffs would be put on hold as talks continued.

"We continue to be quite willing and indeed eager to have further discussions", Ross said.

"Throughout these talks, the U.S. has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU".

Since Mr Trump's announcement in March, companies in the USA that buy metals have already reported higher steel prices and and complained that U.S. producers do not have the ability to meet demand.

Some companies, including Ford, GM and Honda, already assemble most of the cars they sell in America within its borders.

In this case, that means a planned European Union complaint on Friday to the World Trade Organization and the imposition of a retaliatory tariff as soon as June 20 on 2.8 billion euros (US$3.3 billion) of USA goods imported into the bloc including Harley-Davidson Inc. motorcycles, Levi Strauss & Co. jeans and bourbon whiskey.

"I had to highlight that there was no possibility of any Canadian prime minister signing a NAFTA deal that included a five- year sunset clause, and obviously the visit didn't happen", Trudeau said Thursday.

That means that President Donald Trump will be face to face with a number of leaders who have taken retaliatory action against the USA when he makes his closely watched Canadian debut at the G7 next week in Quebec.

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