Trump to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada as of midnight

A steel factory in Germany

- The Trump administration has decided that trade negotiations have proven fruitless and will go ahead with imposing tariffs on imported aluminum and steel from Canada, Mexico, and the EU.

The tariffs, which have prompted several challenges at the WTO, are aimed at allowing the USA steel and aluminum industries to increase their capacity utilization rates above 80 percent for the first time in years.

President Donald Trump's administration imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada, and Mexico Thursday, a move that could provoke retaliatory tariffs and inflame trans-Atlantic trade tensions.

The three allies were previously given temporary exemptions from the duties - 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum. Minutes before, prime minister had declared the US measures "completely unacceptable".

Last week, Trump ordered the Commerce Department to conduct a national security investigation into foreign auto imports. But she said the Trump administration seemed determined to use the tariffs to demand unilateral concessions.

But Trump put the conflict back in play with his declaration on May 29 that the USA would impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese products.

In contrast to France, Germany - Europe's largest economy - has taken a milder tone since March, seeking to be a peacemaker in the negotiations, downplaying talk of retaliation and seeking to keep both sides talking. U.S. Steel (X) rose 3.6%, Steel Dynamics (STLD) pulled back to a 0.6% gain.

And despite the picking and choosing of which allies that the USA decides to slap with these tariffs, Ross defended the US legal justification that they are being implemented under law meant to protect USA national security.

Fears of a global trade war are mounting as the Trump administration also considers tariffs on USA auto imports and duties on US$50 billion in Chinese goods. It did not announce details, but the bloc has previously threatened 25% tariffs on U.S. products such as motorcycles, denim, cigarettes, cranberry juice and peanut butter.

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 21, 2018.

"The UK and other European Union countries are close allies of the United States and should be permanently and fully exempted from the American measures on steel and aluminium".

Europe also said it would start the process for enacting retaliatory tariffs.

On CTV News Channel, Aluminum Association of Canada Chief Executive Jean Simard called the US move "unfortunate", and also called the national security argument a "non-issue", explaining that the two countries are highly integrated when it comes to defence supply.

At a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris he said: "America does not want a trade war".

Dieter Kempf, president of the Federation of German Industries, said in an interview aired Thursday by public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that he predicts a "trade spiral" as a result of the tariffs.

"Trade unions across the world must stand together in opposition to these measures", he said. Although Germany is the eighth largest source of steel imports for the United States, the US market amounts to a low single-digit percentage of the overall German steel industry.

It says weeks of talks between Washington and Brussels have failed to reach a compromise that would convince Mr Trump to extend an exemption for the European Union from the 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminium. "We will respond appropriately".

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