The Trump administration will put tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, the latest action in a string of protectionist policies to crack down on alleged trade abuses.
The tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports will take effect at midnight Thursday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters. The U.S. gave those allies a reprieve from the duties, but the exemptions were set to expire Friday. The Trump administration will place quotas or volume limits on other countries such as South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil instead of tariffs, he said.
Condemnation from U.S. allies poured in immediately Thursday. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called the tariffs "unjustified" and said the EU will introduce countermeasures in the coming hours. A spokesperson for the British government also said the U.K. is "deeply disappointed" in the move and added U.S. allies "should be permanently and fully exempted" from the tariffs. Mexico also said it would impose tariffs in response to the U.S. actions.
The Trump administration move is only its latest in a series of actions targeting foreign countries' trade practices that escalates the chances of a trade war with major world economies. Trump has repeatedly promised to crack down on trade habits that he says harm American companies and sap U.S. jobs.