U.S. allies hit back at Washington's steel, aluminum tariffs

World
By REUTERS

WASHINGTON/PARIS (Reuters) - Canada and Mexico retaliated against the U.S. decision on Thursday to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and the European Union had its own reprisals ready to go, reigniting investor fears of a global trade war.

The tariffs, announced by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a telephone briefing on Thursday, ended months of uncertainty about potential exemptions and suggested a hardening of the Trump administration’s approach to trade negotiations.

The measures, touted by President Donald Trump in March, drew condemnation from Republican lawmakers and the country’s main business lobbying group and sent a chill through financial markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1 percent and the S&P 500 shed 0.69 percent. Shares of industrial heavyweights Boeing and Caterpillar both fell, with Boeing down 1.7 percent and Caterpillar down 2.3 percent.

Tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum will be imposed on the EU, Canada and Mexico from midnight (0400 GMT on Friday), Ross told reporters.

“We look forward to continued negotiations, both with Canada and Mexico on the one hand, and with the European Commission on the other hand, because there are other issues that we also need to get resolved,” he said.