USA to slap tariffs on steel, aluminium from European Union on Thursday

"Canada buys more American steel than any other country in the world, accounting for 50% of United States exports", said Freeland in a statement.

The United States, Canada and Mexico have been renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, which governs trade between the three countries.

France's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, called the US tariffs "unjustified, unjustifiable and risky". The EU believes these unilateral United States tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organisation rules.

The Trump administration is imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from the European Union, Canada and Mexico to help protect America's manufacturing base.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union would give a "smart, determined and jointly agreed" response to new USA tariffs that she said would break World Trade Organization rules.

And despite the picking and choosing of which allies that the US decides to slap with these tariffs, Ross defended the USA legal justification that they are being implemented under law meant to protect USA national security. Ross said that he intends to continue talks with European diplomats and officials from Canada and Mexico, but those are likely to be contentious.

European Union leaders have said they will not negotiate with the U.S. on trade while the tariff issue is unresolved or, as France's President Macron has put it, while they have a gun pointing at their head.

Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said, "The U.S. leaves us no choice but to proceed with a WTO dispute settlement case and the imposition of additional duties on a number of U.S. imports".

Mr Stace said United States tariffs would be "purely protectionist". Noting her discussions with USA officials, she said. One U.S. industry official who has been in contact with negotiators from both sides said neither country had been notified by the White House as of Wednesday evening and they were learning of the possibility of tariffs from news reports. "They're critical for national security".

"Unilateral responses and threats over trade war will solve nothing of the serious imbalances in world trade". That hurts the companies and can lead to more expensive consumer prices, economists say.

German magazine Wirtschaftswoche reported on Thursday that Trump had told French President Emmanuel Macron he wanted to stick to his trade policy long enough that Mercedes-Benz cars were no longer cruising through NY.

In a clear reference to Trump, Macron added: "These solutions might bring symbolic satisfaction in the short term".

But Macron said those "who waged bilateral trade wars ... saw an increase in prices and an increase in unemployment".

"He seemed to understand very clearly that national-security issues don't really apply when you talk about steel or aluminum from Canada", Trudeau said.

Ross is scheduled to go to China this weekend for a third round of negotiations.

Charlton reported from Paris.

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