Canada will respond "appropriately" to any steel and aluminium tariffs, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday, while Mexico announced equivalent tariffs on goods ranging from steel to lamps to apples, "up to an amount matching the level of impact" from the United States tariffs.
Canada and Mexico, embroiled in talks with the U.S. to modernise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), responded swiftly and German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the European Union might team up with them.
"I've assured them that we're going to be working with them to make sure that Canadian jobs are protected and that Canadian workers and communities continue to do OK despite these unnecessary and punitive actions from the United States", he said.
USA businesses and trade associations quickly warned against the effect the new tariffs could have on the economy and consumers.
Mexico announced what it described as "equivalent" measures on a wide range of U.S. farm and industrial products.
Trump responded to the Canadian prime minister's criticism on Friday, arguing that Canada has been unfair on USA agriculture and pushing the country to "take down their trade barriers!" It's been a lousy deal for the United States from Day One, ' Trump said.
Trump to hit EU, Canada and Mexico with steel and aluminium tariffs
Europe and Mexico pledged to retaliate quickly, exacerbating trans-Atlantic and North American trade tensions. Ross says there remains some flexibility and he is looking forward to continuing negotiations.
International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says he doesn't want to compare the softwood lumber and metals industries, even though both key sectors of the Canadian economy face import tariffs.
He said the US President's decision was a mistake because it created economic and commercial nationalism. Industry body UK Steel said that, with exports to America worth half a billion dollars a year, producers in Britain would be "hit hard".
Mr Trump imposed the tariffs in March after his US Commerce Department declared that steel and aluminium imports undermine the country's manufacturing base and threaten national security.
The EU threatened to make good on a threat it issued in March to impose tariffs on imports from the USA that is 10 pages long, including everything from corn and tobacco, to T-shirts, Levi's jeans, bourbon, motor boats and various forms of steel.
Massive US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from the European Union have come into force, raising fears of a transatlantic trade war.
All three quickly responded with threats of tariffs on U.S. goods.
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The tariffs are part of Mr Trump's effort to protect U.S. industry and workers from what he described as unfair worldwide competition, a key theme of his "America First" agenda.
United States stocks fell and Treasuries rose after the US' announcement and the European Union and Mexico's vows to retaliate.
Germany's Volkswagen, Europe's largest automaker, no side would win a trade war.
But Ross said Thursday that those talks "are taking longer than we hoped".
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