Canada's Trudeau blasts "totally unacceptable" Trump tariffs, announces counter-tariffs

Jean-Claude Juncker was speaking in Strasbourg this morning

Jean-Claude Juncker was speaking in Strasbourg this morning

President Donald Trump's decision to follow through on steel and aluminum tariffs against some of the United States' closest allies puts a series of vulnerable Republicans at considerable risk, leading some of those candidates to caution the President against following through with the trade talk.

Imposition of tariffs on European steel and aluminium imports could provoke retaliatory tariffs and inflame trans-Atlantic trade tensions.

The U.S. first announced the tariffs in March, giving reprieve key allies while terms could be negotiated.

"These tariffs are an affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States, and in particular, an affront to the thousands of Canadians who have fought and died alongside their American brothers in arms", he said, noting the USA national security justification for its measures. Canada also offered aid immediately after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. According to their justification, imports can reduce America's domestic production capacity and the country could find itself in a "situation where the United States would be unable to meet demand for national defense and critical infrastructure in a national emergency". The EU believes these unilateral United States tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organisation rules.

Mexico also promised a tit-for-tat reaction, saying it would take "equivalent measures" against USA products.

In his direct conversations with the USA president, Trudeau said, he stressed the "interconnectedness of the Canadian and American economies" and the dire negative consequences both would likely face if the tariff threat went ahead.

Mexico's ministry of economy pledged to impose equivalent measures, and included a partial list of US goods that would face tariffs, including pork bellies, cheese, and produce such as grapes and apples. "Make America Great Again" shouldn't mean 'Make America 1929 Again, '" said Sen.

Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough predicts "significant consequences" to Canada's defence industry as the USA moves to impose tariffs on Canadian steel.

Trudeau is hosting this year's G-7 summit in early June and President Trump is expected to attend.

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"This (US) measure brings the danger of a spiral of escalation, which in the end harms everyone", German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement, adding that Germany would continue to push for free trade and open markets.

"Throughout these talks, the US has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU", said Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Trade.

The Commission has said the European Union will set duties on 2.8 billion euros (US$3.4 billion) of USA exports, including peanut butter and denim jeans, if its metals exports to the United States worth 6.4 billion euros (US$7.5 billion) are subject to tariffs.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, left, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross arrive to attend a meeting at the Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, May 31, 2018.

"Economic nationalism leads to war", Mr Macron said, adding he would talk to Mr Trump on the subject.

British manufacturers sold 350,00 tonnes of steel to the USA previous year, which made up 7% of their exports.

But he had granted an exemption to the EU, Canada and Mexico.

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. "As stated time and time again, the only sustainable solution to the root cause of the issue, global overcapacity in steel production, is multilateral discussions and action through established worldwide channels".

But Macron said those "who waged bilateral trade wars. saw an increase in prices and an increase in unemployment".

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