Canada, Mexico, EU Slapped With Steel And Aluminum Tariffs

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump on Thursday announced tariffs on steel and aluminum will go into effect against Canada, Mexico and the European Union at midnight.

Trump first announced the tariffs in March, but delayed them for certain countries as the United States continued to negotiate alternative methods of achieving Trump’s stated national security goals. The order imposes a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

In a press release on Thursday, Trump announced the United States was able to strike deals with Argentina, Brazil and Australia, but has not been able to reach similar agreements with Mexico, Canada or the European Union. As a result, Trump said, the United States will impose the tariffs starting on Friday.

“The Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs have already had major, positive effects on steel and aluminum workers and jobs and will continue to do so long into the future,” a White House press release states. “At the same time, the Trump administration’s actions underscore its commitment to good-faith negotiations with our allies to enhance national security while supporting American workers.”

The announcement drew rebukes from both domestic and foreign skeptics of Trump’s trade policy, with the European Union announcing its plans to bring the tariffs before the World Trade Organization as soon as they go into effect.

“Throughout these talks, the U.S. has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU,” the European Commission’s Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement. “This is not the way we do business and certainly not between longstanding partners, friends and allies. Now that we have clarity, the EU’s response will be proportionate and in accordance with WTO rules.”

In addition, the European Union will counter the steel and aluminum tariffs with duties of its own on U.S. products, in an effort to “rebalance the situation.” Mexico announced it will take similar steps of its own.

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who has been particularly critical of Trump’s trade policy, said in a statement Thursday that the tariffs on U.S. allies are misplaced.

“This is dumb,” Sasse said in a statement. “Europe, Canada, and Mexico are not China and you don’t treat allies the same way you treat opponents. We’ve been down this road before -blanket protectionism is a big part of why America had a Great Depression. ‘Make America Great Again’ shouldn’t mean ‘Make America 1929 Again.'”

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