The United States is set to announce plans to slap tariffs on European Union steel and aluminum imports as early as today. Europe and Mexico pledged to retaliate quickly, exacerbating trans-Atlantic and North American trade tensions.
Trump is using Section 232 of a trade law that allows tariffs to be imposed on products that the United States deems a threat to national security.
Fears of a global trade war are mounting as the Trump administration also considers tariffs on US auto imports and duties on $50 billion in Chinese goods. U.S. Steel climbed 3%.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said during a call with reporters on Thursday that slow progress on the NAFTA renegotiation is another reason why Canada and Mexico will now be subject to the import tariffs.
"We continue to be quite willing and indeed eager to have further discussions", Ross said.
Referring to the on again off again trade talks between Washington and Beijing, Mr Ross said: "China is an interesting case in point.
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The UK and other European Union countries are close allies of the USA and should be permanently and fully exempted from the American measures on steel and aluminium", the United Kingdom said in a statement. "It's not that we can't talk just because there's tariffs", he said.
Ross offered little detail about what the EU, Canada and Mexico could do to have the tariffs lifted. Tariffs will remain on imports from Japan.
The EU would take "all necessary measures" to respond if the United States did impose tariffs, Mr Le Maire warned.
"Such a move would hit American manufacturers with higher costs, slow the growth of the US construction sector, and put the brakes on job creation in both of these key industries", the Chamber said. "We will respond appropriately".
Macron also proposed to start negotiations between the US, the EU, China and Japan to reshape the World Trade Organization to better regulate trade.
Mr Stace said U.S. tariffs would be "purely protectionist". French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said after a meeting with Ross that the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs would be a step into unsafe territory.
"This will only lead to the victory of those who want less growth, those who don't think we can develop our economies across the world". We are ready to rebuild this multilateralism with our American friends'.
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"Today is a bad day for world trade", said European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
Ross said the USA would consider the effect of those measures.
The EU says it's ready to retaliate with its own crackdown on USA imports like peanut butter and denim jeans. "So I think the difference between the USA approach and many others' is we feel a greater sense of urgency for reform than do numerous other countries".
By increasing the cost of imported steel and aluminum, companies that rely on the metals will be forced to either accept the higher costs and lower profits or pass on the price increase to consumers.
This Trump trade war threat tanked the stock market in late February and early March and got the Dow Jones off to a weak start Thursday. "Nothing", French President Emmanuel Macron said in an impassioned speech Wednesday.
In a clear reference to Trump, Macron added: "These solutions might bring symbolic satisfaction in the short term". You saw his reaction when China made a decision to retaliate.
Europe did not want a trade war, he said, but Washington had to back down from "unjustified, unjustifiable and unsafe tariffs".
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The United States is also exploring the possibility of putting new tariffs on cars.