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6/1/2018  US imposes 25% steel, 10% aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico, EU starting June 1


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday the U.S. would let its temporary steel and aluminum tariff waivers for the EU, Canada and Mexico expire at midnight. The expiration would result in the U.S. imposing a tariff of 25 percent on steel and of 10 percent on aluminum starting Friday. The EU said it would react in a “proportionate … manner.” Mexico said it would impose “equivalent measures.” Canada announced tariffs on U.S. imports to begin July 1.
The EU said it would bring legal proceedings against the U.S. to the World Trade Organization (WTO). It also said, “The level of tariffs to be applied [on U.S. imports] will reflect the damage caused by the new U.S. trade restrictions on E.U. products.” The EU had previously said it would respond to U.S. metal tariffs with 25 percent tariffs on U.S. products such as cigarettes, cranberry juice, denim, motorcycles and peanut butter.
Canada announced it would impose “dollar-for-dollar” tariffs on steel, aluminum and other goods imported from the U.S. at rates of 25 and 10 percent, beginning July 1. It said the tariffs would apply to imports worth 16.6 billion Canadian dollars ($12.8 billion), which is the value of Canadian steel exports to the U.S. last year. Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said the tariffs would remain in place until the U.S. removed its tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum. She said Canada would legally challenge the U.S. tariffs at the WTO and under NAFTA.
Mexico’s Ministry of Economy said, “Faced with tariffs imposed by the U.S., Mexico will impose equivalent measures on various products such as flat steel (hot and cold laminate, including coated and various tubes), lamps, pork legs and shoulders, sausages and food preparations, apples, grapes, blueberries, various cheeses, among others, up to an amount comparable to the level of affectation.”
The U.S. imposed the metal tariffs under a 1962 law that allows it to do so when it is in the interest of national security. The U.S. exempted Canada, Mexico and the EU until April 30, while it imposed the tariffs on other countries on March 23. It later renewed those exemptions until June 1.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Canada is a secure supplier of aluminum and steel to the U.S. defense industry, putting aluminum in American planes and steel in American tanks. That Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States is inconceivable.”
Ross said, “We take the view that without a strong economy, you can’t have strong national security.”
Tariffs between the U.S., Canada and Mexico had been under discussion as part of NAFTA renegotiations. Ross said those negotiations “are taking longer than we hoped.” He also said the U.S. “look[s] forward” to continued trade negotiations, “both with Canada and Mexico on the one hand and with the European Commission on the other hand, because there are other issues that we also need to get resolved.”
The U.S. had previously granted metal tariff exemptions to Argentina, Australia and Brazil. The U.S. has reached deals with those countries to impose quotas on metal imports from them, The New York Times reported.