The United States has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from EU, Canada and Mexico, drawing swift retaliation from the targeted nations and reigniting fears of a global trade war.
A 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent levy on aluminum imports would be in place on the EU, Canada and Mexico from midnight Thursday (0400 GMT on Friday), US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced.
Canada and Mexico, embroiled in talks with the US to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, responded swiftly with their own counter-measures, Reuters reports.
Canada, the largest supplier of steel to the US, will impose tariffs covering C$16.6 billion (US$12.8 billion) on imports from the US, including whiskey, orange juice, steel, aluminum and other products, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.
“The American administration has made a decision today that we deplore, and obviously is going to lead to retaliatory measures, as it must,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference with Freeland.
Mexico announced what it described as “equivalent” measures on a wide range of US farm and industrial products.
The measures, which target pork legs, apples, grapes and cheese as well as steel and other products, will be in place until the US government eliminates its tariffs, the government said.
The EU, meanwhile, threatened tariffs on Harley Davidson motorcycles and bourbon, measures aimed at the political bases of US Republican legislators, Reuters noted.
“It’s entirely up to US authorities whether they want to enter into a trade conflict with their biggest partner, Europe,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.
The tariffs are part of Trump’s effort to protect US industry and workers from what he described as unfair international competition, a key theme of his “America First” agenda.
Temporary exemptions were granted to a number of nations and permanent ones to several countries including Australia, Argentina and South Korea.
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