G7 ministers criticise US tariffs and warn of trade war
US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has faced sharp criticism from angry finance ministers of other G7 nations over America’s imposition of new tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
At a heated meeting in the Canadian resort of Whistler, the EU and Canada threatened to retaliate.
France’s Bruno Le Maire warned a trade war could start in “a couple of days”.
But President Trump insisted on Twitter that the US had been “ripped off by other countries for years on trade”.
He says the tariffs will protect US steelmakers, which he says are vital to national safety. Mr Trump has also complained about barriers US firms face in Europe and elsewhere.
“Time to get intelligent!” he added.
Mr Mnuchin denied that the US had abandoned leadership in the international economy and stated he had passed on the other countries’ robust feelings to Mr Trump.
There was no joint statement at the end of the meeting, which the BBC’s North America correspondent Chris Buckler says is a clear sign of discord.
Our correspondent says acrimonious debate is likely to continue next weekend when the leaders of the G7 nations – including Mr Trump – meet for a summit in Quebec.
What are the tariffs?
On Thursday, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said tariffs of 25% on steel and ten% on aluminium had come into effect.
They apply to items such as plated steel, slabs, coil, rolls of aluminium and tubes – raw materials that are used extensively across US manufacturing, construction and the oil business.
Mr Ross mentioned talks with the EU, Canada and Mexico had not produced enough progress to warrant holding off from imposing the tariffs.
Canada, Mexico and the EU collectively exported $23bn (£17bn) worth of steel and aluminium to the US in 2017 – nearly half of the $48bn of total steel and aluminium imports final year.
What has the response been?
Leaders from the EU, Canada and Mexico have criticised the move.
French President Emmanuel Macron has known as Mr Trump to tell him the tariffs were “illegal” but was told by Mr Trump that there was a require to “rebalance trade” with the EU.
The EU has issued a ten-page list of tariffs on US goods ranging from Harley-Davidson motorcycles to bourbon.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the US move is “totally unacceptable”.
Canada plans to impose tariffs of up to 25% on about $13bn worth of US exports from 1 July. Goods impacted will consist of some American steel, as properly as consumer goods such as yoghurt, whiskey and coffee.
Some prominent US Republicans have also voiced opposition.
Residence Speaker Paul Ryan has mentioned the move “targets America’s allies when we must be operating with them to address the unfair trading practices of nations like China”.
Published at Sat, 02 Jun 2018 22:47:25 +0000