UPDATE 1-Canada vows to protect its steel, aluminum sectors from U.S. tariffs

(Adds comments from innovation minister, steel producers)

OTTAWA, June 4 (Reuters) - Canada will do whatever it can to protect its steel and aluminum sectors from U.S. tariffs, with officials in "intense" talks with industry leaders, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said on Monday.

President Donald Trump's administration last week imposed new U.S. tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum from Canada - the No. 1 steel exporter to the United States - Mexico and the European Union.

Bains told reporters on Monday that talks with the sector were at an early stage.

"We are currently in discussions with both the steel and aluminum industries ... we are having intense conversations about what we can do to support them," he said after a cabinet meeting to discuss possible aid. "We will be looking at all options."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking after a meeting with domestic industry leaders on Monday, said: "We are going to stand up for our workers." He gave no details.

Canadian Steel Producers Association President Joseph Galimberti told reporters that producers had not yet formally asked Ottawa for help.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Saturday that Ottawa was considering an aid package which could be similar to the support for softwood lumber producers after Washington imposed tariffs.

"It was very important for the government to stand up for the (lumber) industry ... in the face of unfair tariffs and I want to assure the workers of the steel and aluminum industries, and companies in those industries, that the government of Canada will support them," Freeland told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview aired on Saturday.

In June 2017, Ottawa announced an C$867 million package for softwood lumber producers.

Canada sent 84 percent of its steel exports, worth C$9.0 billion ($6.97 billion), south last year, according to Statistics Canada.

The sector accounts for about 22,000 direct jobs and supports 100,000 jobs indirectly, the Canadian Steel Producers Association said.

Canada retaliated against the tariffs by last week proposing levies on C$16.6 billion worth of U.S. exports and said it would challenge the U.S. move through the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization.

Trade ties between Canada and the United States have soured since Trump took power in January 2017.

($1 = 1.2911 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by David Gregorio and Susan Thomas)