Canada responded to the US tariffs on steel and aluminium by imposing billions worth of countermeasures, while Mexico put duties on food and steel.
US President Donald Trump’s decision Thursday to slap tariffs on steel and aluminium from Canada, Mexico and the European Union sharply escalated global trade tensions and widened a rift with America’s closest allies.
The Trump administration’s announcement that its once-delayed tariffs would take effect starting Friday was met swift condemnation and retaliation as well as a multilateral challenge at the World Trade Organisation.
Mexico responded to the news by announcing immediate retaliatory tariffs on US products including pork bellies, apples, grapes, blueberries and flat steel.
Canadian leaders reacted particularly angrily to the tariffs, 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium. Trump had justified the import levies on the grounds of national security – a line of reasoning Canadian officials called absurd, illogical and illegal.
Canada, the largest exporter of steel and aluminium to the United States, said it would apply countertariffs of 25 per cent and 10 per cent on US$16.6 billion worth of American metals, farm goods and other products, to take effect July 1.
European Union leaders already had drawn up a list of American imports worth several billions of dollars that would be subject to tariffs, including jeans, Kentucky bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorcycles – goods aimed at applying maximum political pressure as they are produced in home states of top lawmakers.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a speech that the US tariffs would mean “war”.