US steel tariffs: European Union prepare for trade war

Canada's metal producers are urging the government to push back on President Trump's plan to impose steep tariffs: 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminium.

The International Monetary Fund warned Friday that the steel and aluminum tariffs announced by President Donald Trump will harm the USA and global economies. They said that Russian Federation and others with influence over the Syrian government must act to cease their campaign of violence and to protect civilians.

The news sent shares in both Asia and Europe down on Friday.

President Donald Trump threatened to tax European cars on Saturday - the third day of trade arguments over his planned taxes on US steel and aluminum imports.

Trump has defended his decision, saying "trade wars are good".

The combative posts follow Thursday's assertion on Twitter that United States steel and aluminium industries had been "decimated" by trade policies.

Canada buys more American steel than any other country, accounting for 50 per cent of US exports, according to the Canadian Steel Producers Association.

"If the President wants to protect good-paying, family-supporting jobs in America, especially here in Wisconsin, then he should reconsider the administration's position on these tariffs, particularly on ultra-thin aluminum", Walker said in a statement. "People have to understand our country on trade has been ripped off by virtually every country in the world, whether it's friend or enemy".

Most countries believe that negotiations are best carried out and disputes settled through a rules-based system.

Do you think Trump should go further? He's simply continuing in that vein. "Big trade imbalance!", Trump tweeted Saturday.

What have other nations said?

Trump has touted the planned tariffs, which he announced last Thursday, as a way to revive the USA steel and aluminum industries. Of special concern to Canada is the auto industry - and how these tariffs would play havoc with cross-border supply chains.

In Washington, aides scrambled to meet Trump's demand for the paperwork to be completed for a formal announcement this week.

Critics say that the tariffs will likely lead to retaliatory tariffs that could result in a trade war.

In a speech Friday night at Harvard University, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said the EU will respond to the tariffs "to defend European industry, and the world trading system", according to a copy of her remarks.

If implemented in full, tariff on this scale would be a hammer blow for the nations that want to export steel to the United States, especially at a time when there is a massive over-capacity in the global steel industry.

  • Joanne Flowers