Trump tariffs are about national security: Peter Navarro

U.S. President Donald Trump | Alex Wong  Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump | Alex Wong Getty Images

There has been strong condemnation overseas and in the US.

"As to Canada, Mexico, you will recall that the reason for the deferral had been pending the outcome of the NAFTA talks", he said.

This is the logic that makes mutually ruinous trade wars, once started, so hard to control.

"These tariffs will harm industries and workers on both sides of the Canada-US border and will disrupt supply chains that have made North American steel more competitive across the globe", Trudeau said.

European Union leaders have responded angrily. "From the beaches of Normandy to the mountains of Afghanistan, we have fought and died together", Trudeau said in a Thursday speech. "This is exactly what happened in the 1930s (prior to World War II)".

FILE - European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers a speech during a debate on the future of Europe at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, May 30, 2018. But she said the Trump administration seemed determined to use the tariffs to demand unilateral concessions.

In his statement announcing the tariffs on Thursday, May 31, Trump called the decision, among other things, "a satisfactory alternative means to address the threat to the national security". It did not announce details, but the bloc has previously threatened 25% tariffs on U.S. products such as motorcycles, denim, cigarettes, cranberry juice and peanut butter. Shares in both companies fell.

The European Union notes the tariffs affect exports worth €6.4 ($7.4) billion and they will launch legal proceedings against the United States in the World Trade Organization tomorrow.

"Throughout these talks, the US has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU", Malmström said.

The EU will decide exact countermeasures in coming weeks, according to the French officials.

"There was the broad lines of a decent win-win-win deal on the table", Trudeau said. Therefore, we have to continue discussions, negotiations with the US.

The steel industry is big business in the EU. The goods affected are steel, aluminum and several other products, ranging from foodstuffs and coffee to cosmetics and stationery to detergents and various other chemicals.

The United States used 5.5 million tonnes of aluminum a year ago, largely imported from Canada, but only produced about 700,000 tonnes domestically.

Republicans in Congress called the tariffs "dumb" and "damaging" after the White House announcement, and a U.S. retail industry trade group said they "will raise the cost of doing business for thousands of American companies, including retailers, and will stifle efforts to expand and create jobs".

"The United States will agree to a fair deal, or there will be no deal at all", he said.

"The US has agreed on a range of measures with Argentina and Australia, including reducing excess aluminium production and excess aluminium capacity, measures that will contribute to increased capacity utilisation in the United States, and measures to prevent the trans-shipment of aluminium articles and avoid import surges", Mr Trump wrote in a proclamation on Thursday.

The trade actions have also opened the USA to criticism that it was burning bridges just as Mr Trump was seeking to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons and help stabilise the Middle East.

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