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Canada, European Union countries challenge Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs

03 June 2018

Canada's finance minister has said he is hopeful the threat of retaliation against USA trade measures will persuade the Trump administration to back away from the steel and aluminium tariffs it has imposed on its G7 allies.

G7 finance ministers and central bankers crafted a message to Washington Saturday at the end of a three-day meeting in Whistler, B.C. The gathering, meant to explore economic issues ahead of the leaders' summit, featured discussions on trade that one minister described as "tense and tough".

Finance ministers from six of the world's largest economies in a rare step expressed "disappointment" over President Donald Trump's unilateral decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum on its allies.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today he offered to go to Washington this week to complete talks on renegotiating the North American Free Trade agreement but that Vice President Mike Pence called and told him a meeting with the USA president would only happen if Trudeau agreed to put a five-year sunset clause into the deal.

That summit, which will be hosted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, will also mark Trump's first visit to Canada as president.

Canada's new tariffs on American goods will go into effect as of July 1. And even that is subject to change as the Trump administration continues to dangle relief on steel and aluminum tariffs in exchange for other concessions. Well, they have a $2 billion surplus on steel with us. "It was not. We believe in the G7, it's an important group", Mnuchin said at his own news conference.

Mexico has also responded, promising to slap tariffs on USA products including pork bellies, grapes, apples, and flat steel. "I think that we've had a massive effort on tax reform in the United States which has had a incredible impact on the United States economy", Mnuchin said.

Mattis: US will compete vigorously with China if it must
Jim Mattis said the Pentagon will "compete vigorously " on the issue if needed. President Donald Trump on Friday said the summit will take place June 12.

It is not clear what the British response would be, although International Trade Secretary Liam Fox signaled that the United Kingdom was ready for "tit-for-tat" action, telling Sky News that British steel "is vital for their businesses and their defense industry", adding "it is patently absurd".

Canada announced plans to slap tariffs on $12.8 billion worth of USA products, ranging from steel to yogurt.

Mr Trump tweeted that Canada had treated U.S. farmers "very poorly for a very long period of time".

Mnuchin rejected comments from some G7 officials that the United States was circumventing worldwide trade rules with the tariffs or ceding leadership of a global economic and trading system it largely built after World War Two.

The British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox called President Trump's decision "wrong and illegal". But companies in the US that use imported steel will face higher costs.

In an eight-page document sent to the World Trade Organization seen by Reuters, Brussels has specified which American goods will be taxed.

On the other side of the argument, as A.P. points out, American ally Japan has already been paying the tariffs.

Canada, European Union countries challenge Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs