European Union initiates dispute with USA at WTO

Canada's Trudeau blasts

Republicans rebuff Trump on new tariffs

President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser is brushing off concerns over escalating trade disputes with a host of US allies as nothing but a "family quarrel".

"[French] President Macron expressed yesterday his willingness to work on the renewal of the trade system with the United States, but we can not negotiate, we can not enter into any kind of discussion, under pressure, and being hit by tariffs will not help us to open the door to any kind of negotiation", Le Maire said.

They said the announcement was planned for Thursday morning in Washington but that the timing could still change. "The U.S. has been ripped off by other countries for years on Trade, time to get smart!" the president tweeted.

Mnuchin rejected comments from some G-7 officials that the United States was circumventing worldwide trade rules with the tariffs or ceding global economic leadership. We think on the contrary that global trade must have rules in a context of multilateralism.

She dismissed the argument that the tariffs were needed for U.S. national security reasons, saying: "Internal security is not relevant".

The situation eased a little when Trump administration granted a temporary relief from tariffs to some of its key allies like European Union, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea.

Germany's Volkswagen, Europe's largest automaker, warned that the decision could start a trade war that no side would win.

Top European officials held last-ditch talks in Paris with American trade officials to try to avert US tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Former trade minister Francis Maude, now Lord Maude of Horsham, condemned the tariffs as "stupid and counterproductive".

"Any government that embarks on a protectionist path inflicts the most damage on itself", he added.

Trump's move makes good on his campaign promise to crack down on trading partners that he claims exploit poorly negotiated trade agreements to run up big trade surpluses with the United States.

Besides the US steel and aluminum tariffs, the also investigating possible limits on foreign cars in the name of national security.

While not confirming directly that the USA would decide to impose tariffs, he said: "It's up to the European Union to decide if it wants to take retaliatory measures".

On Wednesday, the Trudeau government said it would take additional steps to prevent foreign steel and aluminum from being dumped into the North American market - news that appeared created to try to head off the tariff decision.

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These items include yogurt, coffee, sugar, toilet paper, sailboats, mattresses, washing machines and lawn mowers - all aimed at exerting pressure on key USA states that export a lot to Canada.

The Trump administration argues the tariffs are limited and created to save America's ailing metals industry, which is needed for defence and national security reasons.

All six of the other G7 countries are now paying the tariffs, which are largely aimed at curbing excess production in China.

"That's not going to happen", said EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Some of the products are clearly created to impact Republican-leaning states, such as Kentucky bourbon.

Stung by the US action, the allies quickly hit back.

The U.S. tariffs coincide with - and could complicate - the Trump administration's separate fight over Beijing's strong-arm tactics to overtake U.S. technological supremacy.

Last year, the U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attacked the EU's "extreme protectionism" as President Trump planned the metal tariffs.

The steel and aluminum tariffs could also complicate the administration's efforts to renegotiate NAFTA, a pact that Trump has condemned as a job-killing "disaster".

Mrs May said: "I am deeply disappointed at the unjustified decision by the USA to apply tariffs to European Union steel and aluminium imports".

"These are two very different countries", Mr Trump told reporters at the White House.

Freeland says the dollar-for-dollar countermeasures, which apply to a long list of US products from flat-rolled steel to playing cards and felt-tipped pens, will go into effect July 1.

European Union exports subject to the USA duties are worth €6.4 billion.

A list of countermeasures would include tariffs on US metals and food products such as yogurt, pizza and cucumbers, as well as household products like mattresses and refrigerators.

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