America’s closest allies plan to slap billions of dollars in tit-for-tat tariffs on U.S. goods after the Trump administration announced it’s imposing steel and aluminum duties on them.
The reaction was swift after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the U.S. on Friday will levy new metals duties on imports from the European Union, Mexico and Canada on national security grounds, ending their temporary exemptions.
The EU said it would take immediate steps to retaliate, while Mexico vowed to impose duties on everything from U.S. flat steel to cheese. Canada’s government announced it will impose tariffs on as much as C$16.6 billion ($12.8 billion) of U.S. steel, aluminum and other products from July 1.
Ross said there wasn’t enough progress in discussions with the EU over trade concessions and Canada and Mexico on rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement to give them permanent exemptions from the metals tariffs. The EU, Canada and Mexico together account for about 40 percent of U.S. steel imports.
The commerce secretary said he’s looking forward to “continued negotiations” with Canada, Mexico and the EU to resolve their issues. There’s potential “flexibility” in the future because the president has the power to increase or cut tariffs, remove them, or enact quotas, he said.
“We continue to be quite willing and eager to have further discussions with all of those parties,” Ross told reporters on Thursday. “We are awaiting their reaction.”