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The steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration Thursday have already been met with fierce resistance throughout Canada, Mexico, and Europe as officials announce retaliatory tariffs on US goods, threatening to spark a trade war.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that 25 percent tariffs on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum would take effect after exemptions expired for Canada, Mexico, and the European Union amid stagnating trade negotiations.
“This is protectionism, pure and simple,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, according to The Associated Press.
EU officials said retaliatory measures will likely be announced in June.
Meanwhile, Mexico slammed the tariffs, saying they will “distort international trade” and announcing penalties on U.S. imports including pork, fruit, cheese, and steel.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada also announced tariffs in response to the Trump administration's policies – which he called “totally unacceptable” – targeting $12.8 billion worth of U.S. products, from steel to yogurt to toilet paper.
“Canada is a secure supplier of aluminum and steel to the U.S. defense industry, putting aluminum in American planes and steel in American tanks,” Trudeau said. “That Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States is inconceivable.”
Trump has often criticized trade deals with many countries, and Ross explained that the door is still open for future deals that could remove the tariffs.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
But analysts expressed their doubts that the measures will lead to anything productive with the nations affected.
“I don’t think this is a prelude to a series of deals. If anything, this kills the possibility of deals,” said Philip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a former White House trade adviser, according to the AP.
American manufacturers, meanwhile, have stressed that China is the real problem, with massive overproduction of Chinese metal flooding markets around the world and stifling business. But U.S. negotiators have yet to reach a deal with China on trade.