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Canada to impose tariff 'countermeasures' on US

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The United States had sought use the tariff threat as cudgel to win concessions from Canada and Mexico in talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But the US Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross announced today that the tariffs will apply to the European Union - as well as Canada and Mexico - from midnight.

Wilbur Ross, the USA commerce secretary, said insufficient progress had been made in talks with the EU, Canada and Mexico, since the U.S. had agreed a temporary reprieve from the tariffs for the three close United States allies after they were unveiled by Trump two months ago.

The European Union yesterday said it had opened legal challenges to the U.S. at the World Trade Organisation, the Geneva-based arbitrator of global trade disputes that is loathed by Mr Trump.

"The key takeaway is Donald Trump does not view the Canada-U.S. relationship as special", Eric Miller of the Rideau Potomac Strategy Group, said in an interview.

Tariff exemptions continue to apply to Argentina, Brazil, and Australia, which have all agreed to restrict exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.

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Europe is expecting a decision from Trump during the day Thursday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

That will be interpreted as another push for the European Union to settle the metal tariffs dispute through a new overarching trade deal with the US. Its list, released previously, would consider tariffs on Levi's jeans and bourbon.

"We take the view that without a strong economy, you can not have strong national security", Ross said Thursday.

The trade penalties, which included a 25 percent tax on imported steel and a 10 percent tax on imported aluminum, will be in effect starting Thursday at midnight.

When asked if the USA tariffs represented the beginning of a trade war, Trudeau responded that Canada will continue to put pressure on the US and attempt to convince Trump that imposing the measures will put an undeniable strain on their relationship. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is not seeking re-election, said he disagrees with the decision.

Just a week ago, US businesses may have thought they could breathe a sigh of relief, as the USA and China hit pause on an impending trade war.

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President Trump said the USA had been unfairly treated in trade with its neighboring and oversees partners.

Automakers responded negatively to the Trump administration's first announcement of the duties in March and on Thursday the trade group that represents foreign-brand vehicle dealers echoed that sentiment.

"I strongly support imposing stiff penalties on countries like China, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam to prevent them from illegally dumping steel and aluminum into the US and throughout the world".

"We are heading for a trade war, which is going to be all losers - there will be no winners". Mexico said it would penalize US imports including pork bellies, apples, grapes, cheeses and flat steel.

Steel and aluminum, for instance, are used in so many industries that tariffs will boost input costs in sectors from food and beverage manufacturing to aerospace, and producers will likely try to pass along the tariffs to consumers in the form of higher prices.

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