U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the decision was based on the lack of progress in the ongoing NAFTA talks. The president has made clear time and time again that we have a trade deficit and are losing out to our partners, who for their part have a trade surplus.
"We have a whole spectrum of potentially large investments in Canada but in the environment we have now there's no way to put those projects on the table", he said.
Some stocks of USA companies that could be adversely affected by the tariffs, or by possible retaliatory action against the US, headed down. They are expected to lead to retaliation from European nations.
The statement criticised the USA use of a national security justification as "improper" and said the tariffs will affect key United States industries, including the automotive, aerospace and electronics sectors.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had traveled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss the issue, among other matters, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The EU had earlier agreed to discussions on increased market access for US products but only if the USA first agreed to a permanent exemption from the steel tariffs.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker only discovered the news when he was passed a note during a speech he was making in Brussels. But if realDonaldTrump decides to treat Europe as an enemy, we will have no choice but to defend European industry, jobs & interests.
"The EU believes these unilateral USA tariffs are unjustified and at odds with World Trade Organization rules".
Noting that Canada purchases more USA steel than any other nation, Trudeau lambasted the Trump administration for initiating the tariffs under the guise of confronting a threat to national security. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom has said the details of the USA decision would guide the EU's response.
Susan Danger, CEO of the American Chambers of Commerce to the European Union, said she is "very concerned by the damage a tit-for-tat dispute would cause to the transatlantic economy and its impact on jobs, investment and security across the Atlantic".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union would give a "smart, determined and jointly agreed" response to the new tariffs that she said would break WTO rules.
This is dumb. Europe, Canada, and Mexico are not China, and you don't treat allies the same way you treat opponents.
"This is another negotiation tactic on the United States side because there are other negotiations going on".
The steel and aluminum levies and auto-import probe could play well with Trump voters in Rust Belt states in the lead-up to congressional midterms in November.