United States hits EU, Canada and Mexico with steel, aluminium tariffs

President Donald Trump announced in March that the United States would slap a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum citing national security

The Tory government has talked up the idea of a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States, but Donald Trump's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum on its allies has led to mockery of the so-called 'special relationship'.

The tariffs are part of Trump's effort to protect USA industry and workers from what he described as unfair global competition, a key theme of his "America First " agenda.

"It's clearly going to have a negative impact on all the users of steel throughout the economy", said Emily J. Blanchard, an associate professor of business administration at Dartmouth University's Tuck School of Business.

The trade penalties, 25% on imported steel and 10% on imported aluminum, take effect at midnight, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters Thursday.

She spoke on the sidelines of Cansec, an annual arms-trade show where defence companies from around the world showcase their wares to government and military officials.

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it is moving forward with tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods as punishment for intellectual property theft.

"We take the view that without a strong economy, you can not have strong national security", Ross told reporters.

The Trump administration's decision to impose punishing new tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum could have dire consequences for Canada's defence sector and drive up the price of new military equipment, federal ministers said Thursday. Mexico has also vowed to impose retaliatory import duties on USA products.

"The United States has been taken advantage of for many decades on trade".

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, promised "immediate retaliation", The Guardian says.

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"Earlier today, this message was conveyed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada: The United State will agree to a fair deal, or there will be no deal at all", Trump said. Mexico's Ministry of Economy went on to say "Mexico reiterates its openness to constructive dialogue with the USA, its support for the worldwide trading system and its rejection of unilateral protectionist measures".

A list of countermeasures would include tariffs on USA metals and food products such as yogurt, pizza and cucumbers, as well as household products like mattresses and refrigerators.

The peso has dropped 6.4% in May, the biggest monthly decline since November 2016 after Donald Trump won the USA presidential election.

The Mexican government, already at loggerheads with Trump over immigration and the border wall, said it would levy import taxes on U.S. exports of pork bellies, blueberries, apples, grapes, certain cheeses, and various types of steel.

The Canadian government released two lists of US products, proposing a 25 percent tariff on the first list and 10 percent on the second. "The EU believes these unilateral US tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organisation rules", Jean-Claude Juncker, President, European Commission, said on Thursday.

The Dow Jones Index dropped 250 points on the announcement and fear is growing that similar tariffs will be announced by Russian Federation and China in coming days.

What countries will still be exempt?

What are tariffs? "Customs duties on merchandise imports are called tariffs", the World Trade Organization (WTO) says on its website.

"The industry remains greatly concerned about these potential tariffs", said Brian Wick, executive director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association.

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