Commerce Secretary Ross Brings EU to the Negotiating Table with Tariff Threats

Commerce Secretary Ross Brings EU to the Negotiating Table with Tariff Threats

Ross explained that the previous extension for Canada and Mexico was specifically due to ongoing NAFTA talks, but that "those talks had been taking longer than we had hoped" and there's no longer a precise date of when a deal may be reached.

Mexico buys more steel and aluminum from the United States than it sells.

"Today is a bad day for world trade", said Cecilia Malmström, the European trade commissioner.

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

The United States negotiated voluntary export limits with several other friendly nations, including South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil. News reports say that Trump is determined to keep Germany luxury cars out of the U.S.

Last year, almost 50 percent of U.S steel and aluminum imports in 2017 came from the EU Canada and Mexico.

And so the administration chose to lift the exemption from the tariffs for those countries. "The fact that we took a tariff action does not mean there can not be a negotiation".

Ross and Lighthizer seemed like the odd men out at this week's gathering at the OECD, an global economic agency that includes the a prominent member.

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In a move that is likely to prompt retaliation from Brussels, Ross said talks with the EU had not shown enough progress for European steel and aluminium producers to continue to be exempted from the tariffs.

Mexico responded to USA steel and aluminum tariffs by imposing wide-ranging "equivalent" measures, including on steel and farm products, the economy ministry said on Thursday. And he said that while he was looking forward to continuing negotiations, the making its decision in the interest of national security - a justification Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has dismissed as absurd. The next question would be: how will the (US) President (Donald Trump) react?

The European Commission says it will retaliate with duties on USA exports, including denim jeans, drinks, and peanut butter.

Despite weeks of talks with his EU counterparts, Ross said the USA was not willing to meet the European demand that the EU be "exempted permanently and unconditionally from these tariffs". "The government is absolutely prepared to and will defend Canadian industries and Canadian jobs".

For the past couple of months, it has looked like a trade war might be avoided, Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments, wrote in a note distributed early Thursday morning.

Last week, Trump ordered the Commerce Department to conduct a national security investigation into foreign auto imports. But they can increase costs more broadly for USA manufacturers that cannot source all their needs locally and have to import the materials. "Nothing", French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday.

The move will likely trigger serious retaliation from the three countries and push the U.S. to the edge of a trade war.

"These solutions might bring symbolic satisfaction in the short term", Macron said.