Canada and Mexico, which are embroiled in talks with the United States to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, responded to the USA move by announcing levies of their own on a variety of American exports.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and several other world leaders, are not pulling any punches in the worldwide blowback to President Donald Trump's decision to put tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Canada and Mexico retaliated with levies on billions of dollars of U.S. goods from orange juice to pork, and the European Union was set to tax bourbon whiskey and Harley motorcycles, after Washington risked a global trade war to impose steel and aluminium tariffs.
Bruno Le Maire, France's finance and economy minister, was blunt in his assessment of the Whistler meeting, where ministers confronted Mnuchin. They are joined at the meeting by officials from Britain, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
In the end, "this fight is not going to be resolved through diplomacy or at the G7 next week; it's going to be political developments in the United States", he added, noting that Canadian tariffs on USA consumer goods aimed to sway voters in key districts in the upcoming U.S. mid-term elections.
The US imposed the tariffs in March, but gave Canada and the European Union - the biggest sources of foreign aluminium and steel for the US - a grace period that ended at midnight Thursday.
"I had to highlight that there was no possibility of any Canadian prime minister signing a NAFTA deal that included a five year sunset clause, and obviously the visit didn't happen", Trudeau said Thursday.
Well, they have a $2 billion surplus on steel with us.
"If players in the world don´t stick to the rule book the system might collapse", Malmstrom said.
Retaliatory measures are now planned - and Europe will take Washington to the World Trade Organisation to challenge the legality of its move. Canada unveiled a package of counter-tariffs on USA imports valued at Can$16.6 billion (US$12.8 billion).
Mexico announced what it described as "equivalent" measures on a wide range of USA farm and industrial products, including pork legs, apples, grapes, cheese, steel and other goods.
Stock prices slumped amid fears of a trade war, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling almost 252 points, or 1 percent, to 24,415.84.
She criticized Trump's decision and pointed out that the tariffs have got nothing to do with national security. The WTO's former chief, Pascal Lamy, also said the damage would likely be limited in concrete terms. "By people representing us who didn't have a clue", he said at the time. "This is very much a matter of concern and was also part of the discussions". The list includes roughly 160 products such as United States sunbeds, paper towels, corduroy trousers and porcelain tableware that could face European Union tariffs between 10% to 50%.
"I know he has a very particular problem with German cars", warned Malmstrom.
He added that it was too early to speculate on the likely impact on jobs, but said: "At worst, we could fall straight back into the crisis we suffered in 2015/16, which was the worst steel crisis in a generation".
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