Trump hits Europe, Mexico and Canada with metals tariffs

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has warned Europe its new privacy laws could hurt the continent with less communication coming from America including vital alerts about possible disease outbreaks

"We will continue to work closely with the European Union and US Administration to achieve a permanent exemption, and to ensure that United Kingdom workers are protected and safeguarded".

"World trade is not a gunfight at the OK Corral", Le Maire quipped, referring to a 1957 western movie.

The NAFTA talks were one factor in the administration's decision to grant exemptions to Canada and Mexico from the steel and aluminum tariffs.

European trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, said she doubted that Europe could avoid some kind of restriction, whether they be tariffs or export limits. Last week, The Trump administration announced an investigation into whether automobile imports are hurting U.S. national security, laying the groundwork for another trade fight.

The Trump administration faced a decision with previously granted exemptions from the tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports expiring June 1.

Europe did not want a trade war, he said, but Washington had to back down from "unjustified, unjustifiable and unsafe tariffs".

Malmstrom is meeting U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Paris on Thursday among other worldwide trade chiefs.

"The EU, Canada, and Mexico make up about half of United States steel imports, so the economic effect of these tariffs would be far more than anything we've seen to date", he said.

USA and European officials held last-ditch talks in Paris to try to reach a deal, though hopes are low and fears of a trade war are mounting.

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

European officials had braced for the tariffs and the EU has threatened to retaliate in turn.

Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron made their cases separately Wednesday to dissuade Trump, who is using a national-security clause in US trade law to justify the move.

"We continue to be quite willing, indeed eager, to have further discussions with all of these parties", Ross told reporters, speaking from Paris where he is attending meetings at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. "The government is absolutely prepared to and will defend Canadian industries and Canadian jobs".

"By targeting those who are not responsible for overcapacities, the U.S.is playing into the hands of those who are responsible for the problem". "They're critical for national security". "It's totally unacceptable that a country is imposing unilateral measures when it comes to world trade".

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. That hurts the companies and can lead to more expensive consumer prices, economists say.

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

Ross is scheduled to go to China this weekend for a third round of negotiations. But German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier insisted the Europeans were ready to negotiate special trade arrangements, notably for liquefied natural gas and industrial goods, including cars.

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