Published: Mon, June 04, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

USA 'playing unsafe game' with metal tariffs, says EU

USA 'playing unsafe game' with metal tariffs, says EU

The Trump administration removed the exemption to Canada and Mexico from his new 25 per cent tariff on import of steel and 15 per cent on aluminum yesterday.

In March, Trump announced plans to impose 25-percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum, while delaying implementation for some trading partners to offer concessions to avoid the tariffs.

The federal government announced Thursday afternoon that it would impose some $16.6 billion in dollar-for-dollar counter-tariffs on a wide variety of United States goods - everything from whiskey to sleeping bags to quiche - that will take effect on Canada Day.

The White House has said the USA tariffs - 25 percent duties on steel and 10 percent on aluminum shipments from Canada, EU member states and Mexico - are necessary to safeguard US national security.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned of the consequences, saying: "It's entirely up to USA authorities whether they want to enter into a trade conflict with their biggest partner, Europe".

In fact, Commerce Department numbers show, the United States recorded a trade surplus with Canada for each of the past three years. What's more, many top foreign brands such as Toyota and Honda have manufacturing facilities located in the U.S. The EU has said it would respond with tariffs on $3.3 billion in American imports as early as June 20.

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Trudeau also noted that now the US has a $2 billion USA dollar surplus in steel trade with Canada and that Canada buys more American-made steel than any other country in the world.

And before the end of June, the European Union will also impose tariffs targeting certain American imports.

The extent of the direct damage, however, will depend on how the European Union answers to US tariffs.

"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".

Despite the EU's reticence to enter a trade war, Juncker said the decision could not go "without any kind of reaction".

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"In a connected, global economy, customs barriers don't benefit anyone, including the United States", the VDA federation said.

Public companies may feel pressure from shareholders who would expect them to fight the USA government in court and get an injunction, he said in an interview.

Mexico also has announced retaliatory measures in response to the new US tariffs.

"What we are concerned about is now the risk of an escalation, an escalation turning into further trade dispute and tit for tat measures, these aren't going to help anyone at all".

Justifying US steel tariffs based on national security concerns is "grotesque", according to Germany's steel industry association.

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