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The tit-for-tat trade spat comes after nine months of negotiations between Canada, Mexico and the United States to revamp NAFTA bogged down.

The EU - along with Canada and Mexico - are now receiving a temporary exemption which expires Friday.

"President Trump underscored the need to rebalance trade with Europe", the White House said in a statement.

Tariff exemptions continue to apply to Argentina, Brazil, and Australia, which have all agreed to restrict exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.

Mexico said it was imposing "equivalent" tariffs, ratcheting up tensions during talks to renegotiate NAFTA ahead of the US mid-term elections in November.

"And we are working very hard to remind our American partners that we have such an integrated procurement supply chain that it's very difficult to fathom that there would be a security risk imposed by Canada".

In 2011, Mexico successfully used a similar list of mostly agricultural products to push Washington into letting Mexican truckers on US highways. The EU Commission, the bloc's executive, said the measures could enter into force on June 20 at the earliest.

The Wolfsburg-based company is calling for dialogue between the USA and the European Union within recognized World Trade Organization principles "in order to prevent any long-term economic damage".

Despite worldwide objection, the USA administration decided in March to impose a 25 per cent tariff on steel imports and a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports.

Effective July 1, Canada will impose tariffs of 25 percent on shipments of US steel and 10 percent on aluminum, as well as on other products, such as playing cards, inflatable boats and yogurt.

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"We will keep fighting", Turner said.

The director of trade body UK Steel, Gareth Stace, said he was "very, very worried" about the potential impact of a "double whammy" on British producers from the Trump administration's decision.

The European Union and China said they will deepen ties on trade and investment as a result.

The Mexican government said it would levy import taxes on USA exports of pork bellies, apples, cranberries, grapes, certain cheeses and various types of steel.

Yesterday, however, Trump announced that those exemptions were not being extended, and his decision immediately drew furious responses from Canadian President Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

"These tariffs will harm industries and workers on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border and will disrupt supply chains that have made steel and aluminum from North America more competitive across the whole world".

"We are heading for a trade war, which is going to be all losers - there will be no winners".

The European Union on Friday formally set in motion its trade retaliation against the USA tariffs, filing a request for consultations at the WTO, which oversees disputes on global trade.

The tariffs were introduced by the US President in response to the markets being flooded by cheap Chinese steel which has endangered the competitiveness of the industry in the West.

"This particular sector of our economy relies really heavily on those products", said defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.


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