European Union has 'gun held to head' on steel tariffs

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross hints a trade war could be the result of new EU privacy laws given that the regulations include'unnecessary barriers to trade. If that happens it would be an additional front in a global trade war the President Donald Trum

U.S. Presidential nomineeDonald Trump walks past a Mexican flag after giving a press conference with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto at the Los Pinos residence in Mexico City, Mexico, August 31, 2016.

The EU, Canada and Mexico have threatened retaliation after US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that exemptions on steel and aluminum import tariffs would end on June 1.

"We will not accept this highly regrettable decision without reacting", he said.

"We are alienating all of our friends and partners at a time when we could really use their support", said Wendy Cutler, a former USA trade negotiator who is now vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

"The EU believes these unilateral US tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organization rules".

"This is protectionism, pure and simple", said Jean-Claude Junker, president of the European Commission.

White House spokesman Raj Shah told Fox News: "The president's actions are about protecting American steel, American aluminum".

"The steel and aluminum tariffs will have a poisonous effect on the NAFTA negotiations", Alden said. U.S. Steel (X) rose 3.6%, Steel Dynamics (STLD) pulled back to a 0.6% gain.

Trump announced worldwide steel and aluminum tariffs in March but granted exemptions to some major trading partners.

Steel producers across the European Union were granted a temporary exemption from the tariffs while the USA tried to persuade the European Union to cut steel production or make other concessions. But he said those talks were taking longer that "we had hoped".




The two sources briefed on the matter said the decision would land before a Friday expiration deadline for exemptions to the planned tariffs.

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

Ross is scheduled to go to China this weekend for a third round of negotiations.

Trump imposed the tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum using a national security justification, which Ross said encompasses a broad array of economic issues.

Trump had been widely expected to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports after failing to win concessions from the European Union.

That announcement came about a month after the Canada Border Services Agency was granted extra powers to identify businesses that try to dodge import duties and ship cheap foreign steel and aluminum through the Canadian market.

Macron also proposed to start negotiations between the US, the EU, China and Japan to reshape the World Trade Organization to better regulate trade.

Hitting Canada and Mexico with the tariffs could be a huge blow to Nafta talks. Although Germany is the eighth largest source of steel imports for the United States, the USA market amounts to a low single-digit percentage of the overall German steel industry.

"There are still a lot of debates going on in Europe", said Guntram Wolff, director of the Bruegel Institute, a Brussels-based think tank.

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