IT'S A TRADE WAR: Europe, Mexico, and Canada retaliate against Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs

  • President Donald Trump announced that the European Union, Canada, and Mexico would soon be subject to steel and aluminum tariffs.
  • The decision angered the three key trading partners.
  • EU leaders promised to retaliate with tariffs on US goods.
  • Mexico's economy ministry said pork, steel, and other US products would be subject to tariffs.

It didn't take long for the European Union, Canada, and Mexico to hit back at the US after the Trump administration announced the three key allies would soon be subject to steel and aluminum tariffs.

The three allies lambasted the US decision, calling the move a violation of trade rules and a breakdown of international cooperation.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the steel and aluminum tariffs were "totally unacceptable" and a violation of a centuries-old relationship between the US and Canada.

"These tariffs will harm industries and workers on both sides of the Canada-US border and will disrupt supply chains that have made North American steel more competitive across the globe," Trudeau said.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Trump's tariffs were "totally unacceptable" and promised to retaliate in due course.

"This is a bad day for world trade," Juncker said.

French President Emmanuel Macron called the move illegal. Steffen Seibert, a German-government spokesman, also called the tariffs "unlawful."

More on Trump and Macron's relationship:

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Body language between Trump and Macron during state visit
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) looks on as U.S. President Donald Trump flicks a bit of dandruff off his jacket during their meeting in the Oval Office following the official arrival ceremony for Macron at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron depart their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron hug during an arrival ceremony at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Bourg TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron hold a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2018. (Photo by ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron walk down the colonnade at the White House following the official arrival ceremony for Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands during a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 24, 2018. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images)
French President Emmanuel Macron clasps hands with U.S. President Donald Trump at the conclusion of their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump at the conclusion of their joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump embrace during the official arrival ceremony for Macron on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, D.C. - APRIL 24: President Donald Trump wipes something off the jacket of President Emmanuel Macron of France during a meeting April 24, 2018 in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
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"This measure brings the danger of a spiral of escalation, which in the end harms everyone," Seibert said in a statement.

The Mexican economy ministry also related the country's displeasure with the new crackdown: "Mexico profoundly regrets and condemns the decision by the United States to impose these tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from Mexico."

All three allies took umbrage with the US's justification for the tariffs. The Trump administration is using an obscure section from a half-century-old trade law to impose the tariffs on national-security grounds. All three of the key trading partners insist that they pose no national security risk to the US and should be exempt from the restrictions.

Here's a rundown of the announced or expected countermeasures from the US allies:

  • Mexico: Its government said it would impose "equivalent measures" on US products — including flat steel, lamps, pork legs and shoulders, sausages and food preparations, apples, grapes, blueberries, various cheeses, and more.
  • EU: Juncker said the bloc would move forward with tariffs on equal value to the steel and aluminum measures. The EU had previously released a list of US products that would be subject to tariffs in the event the metal restrictions went into effect. The list included blue jeans, motorcycles, boats, bourbon whiskey, rice, playing cards, and steel.
  • Canada: Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that Canada would impose retaliatory tariffs on US goods including steel, aluminum, and more — up to a value of $6 billion. According to Freeland, the tariffs were the "strongest action by Canada in the post-War era." In addition to the industrial metals, the Canadian tariffs would apply to some consumer products, such as maple syrup, pizza, and toilet paper.

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