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Trade war: Now, US’s own allies hit back at Trump’s tariff politics

By Shubham
|

After China, the US surprisingly took on its traditional allies in the trade war and the Donald Trump administration's decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium manufacturers invited strong reaction from Europe and Canada, the US's traditional friends.

US President Donald Trump

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Calude Juncker, promised immediate retaliation against the Trump administration's measures after America's Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said European Union companies would face a 25 per cent duty on steel and 10 per cent duty on aluminium starting from Thursday midnight.

Juncker said the US's decision was "unjustified" and added that the EU too had no choice but to hit back with counter tariffs on US goods besides registering a complaint with the World Trade Organisation, Geneva,

Juncker called the US move "unjustified" and said the EU had no choice but to hit back with tariffs on US goods and a case with the World Trade Organisation in Geneva.

The US, while escalating its trade war with China a few months ago, had granted a temporary reprieve to Europe, along with Canada and Mexico - two of its neighbours - but Ross later said that talks with Europe, Canada and Mexico did not produce the desired results in lessening the US's trade deficit and hence it was decided to lift the waiver. Ross's statement sent shock waves through the global markets, second time after the US's unrelenting confrontation with China.

While the EU already announced a tit-for-tat measure targeting motorcyles, whiskey and jeans industries, the UK also raised alarm over the Trump administration's decision. London is hoping to build free trading terms with the US once it officially quits the EU in March next year but now its plans look to have landed in a serious jeoparday.

"Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, said Britain would not rule out countermeasures or taking Washington to the WTO, which arbitrates on global trade disputes," the Guardian reported.

French President Emmanuel Macron who President Trump hosted over a state dinner in April, criticised the US's tariffs as illegal and mistake while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau imposed a tariff up to 25 per cent on American imposts worth over 16 billion Canadian dollars.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, called the US tariffs illegal and a mistake, while the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, issued an immediate like-for-like response - announcing tariffs of up to 25% on US imports worth up to 16.6bn Canadian dollars (£9.6bn), which was the total value of Canadian steel exports to the US last year. The tariffs will cover steel and aluminium as well as orange juice, whiskey and other food products. Trudeau even went to the extent of saying that the "totally unacceptable" move by the US is a turning point in the relationship between the two neighbours who have known to be allies for a long, long time, Newsweek reported.

Mexico also lashed out at the decision, saying it deeply regretted and disapproved of the US's decision. In January, Mexico had criticised the US decision on import of solar panels and washing machines.

Trump's decision is the second instance within a month which has seriously offended its allies. On May 8, Trump scuttled the multilateral Iran deal of 2015 saying it was "flawed" and helped Iran unjustly. Washington's allies like the UK, France and Germany - which are also part of the pact - were left disappointed with such a hasty call which they opined would only encourage Iran to go ahead with its reckless nuclear ambitions.

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