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U.S. imposes hefty tariffs on steel, aluminium imports from key allies

U.S. imposes hefty tariffs on steel, aluminium imports from key allies

Canada, the largest supplier of steel to the United States, will impose retaliatory tariffs covering C$16.6 billion in imports from the United States, including whiskey, orange juice, steel, aluminium and other products, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.

The European Union is planning retaliatory tariffs on United States steel and food goods in the coming weeks, once it calculates the exact cost to European Union companies of the USA tariffs.

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, described the move as "totally unacceptable", and said it amounted to "an affront to the thousands of Canadians who have fought and died alongside their American brothers in arms".

Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox labelled the move "patently absurd" and confirmed the United Kingdom "absolutely does not rule out counter measures".

The dragging on of the NAFTA talks was a key reason behind the USA move to target Canada and Mexico, but given the importance of that trade agreement to the continent's economy, neither US neighbour was deterred.

Liam Fox has condemned Donald Trump's steel and aluminium tariffs as "patently absurd" but has insisted the President's "protectionism" and apparent disregard for the United Kingdom economy will not affect a post-Brexit trade deal.

Perrin Beatty, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said Canada should not walk away from the NAFTA table.

The administration's actions drew fire from Europe, Canada and Mexico and promises to quickly retaliate against US exports.

A key importer of steel is the Mexican auto industry, which is at the center of contention in Nafta negotiations as the US seeks to increase its national content in cars built in the region.

Canada is a secure supplier of aluminium and steel to the U.S. defense industry, putting aluminium in American planes and steel in American tanks.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Rossis due to arrive in theChinese capital on Saturday for talks with trade negotiators from the world's second-biggest economy.

"That means that we have the ability to put tariffs on their goods and there is very little that they can put tariffs on or retaliate against in terms of our trade with them".

And on Thursday, the White House announced the levies have now been imposed on the EU, Mexico and Canada, despite previous exemptions. He said he would travel to China on Friday for trade talks this weekend.

The tariffs are expected to affect European Union exports that were worth €6.4bn (£5.6bn) in 2017. Last week the U.S. administration also launched a national security investigation into auto and truck imports.

While China is seen at more risk from a trade war because its exports are larger than its imports from the United States, operations of American companies in China make substantial sales there, which could be hit by any turn in sentiment.

Manfred Weber, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said "we will have no choice but to defend European industry, jobs and interests". After ten years nursing the world's markets back to health from the financial crash of 2008, "a trade war is the last thing the global economy needs right now", Lynn says. "In an increasingly protectionist world, inheriting the EU's old trade deals and winning new ones will be tougher than ever". Dissatisfied with the negotiations, Trump lifted the exemptions, in a move likely to provoke counteraction from trade allies.

That hurts the companies and can lead to more expensive consumer prices, economists say. "They're critical for national security".

But the broader market sank because of trade war fears.

The euro reversed earlier gains as inflation in the eurozone rose to the ECB's target in May, fueled by a huge increase in oil prices as the US chose to pull out of a nuclear deal with Iran.

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