USA steel, aluminum stocks gain as Trump moves ahead with tariffs

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Mexico's Ministry of Economy went on to say "Mexico reiterates its openness to constructive dialogue with the United States, its support for the global trading system and its rejection of unilateral protectionist measures".

A press release from Canadian Chamber president Perrin Beatty stated that "We need to act vigorously to support our domestic industries, and to send a message to the U.S. Administration that their unilateral protectionist measure will not come without a serious cost to them".

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada plans to levy tariff "countermeasures" of its own on up to $16.6 billion worth of imports of steel, aluminum and other products from the U.S.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (seen here with President Trump in October) on Thursday called the argument that US steel import tariffs were necessary for national security reasons an "affront" to Canada.

Why is the United States imposing tariffs?

Mexico, too, said it would impose retaliatory duties on a variety of U.S. goods, including steel and a host of agricultural goods, including pork, apples and various cheeses.

The S&P 500's packaged foods and meats industry sub-index fell 2 percent, with shares of meat producer Tyson Foods Inc falling 3.9 percent, Campbell Soup Co 2.6 percent and spice maker McCormick & Co Inc 2.9 percent.

The European Union is weighing up slapping new rates on products from Harley-Davidsons, Levi jeans and bourbon whiskey - targeting specific products from states represented by influential Republicans in the Congress and Senate. That's the reaction from the European Commission's president to the US decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union. "If Mexico and Canada do indeed impose retaliatory tariffs, that makes getting across the goal line even more challenging".

Ross denied this impression and said that there has been transshipment of Chinese steel and aluminum.

Trump imposed the steel and aluminum penalties under a 1962 law that gives the president broad power to increase or reduce tariffs on goods deemed critical to national security.

The tariffs are part of Trump's effort to protect United States industry and workers from what he described as unfair worldwide competition, a key theme of his "America First " agenda. Mexico was the third largest, behind South Korea.

The consensus against tariffs is so overwhelming that over 1,100 economists, including 15 Nobel laureates, recently signed an open letter opposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Labour's Barry Gardiner called for a reaction to U.S. levies on aluminium and steel from Europe and North America.

"It sends a clear message that this kind of thing does not benefit anybody", Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in an interview on Mexican radio about the measures against US products ranging from steel to grapes.

In his statement announcing the tariffs on Thursday, May 31, Trump called the decision, among other things, "a satisfactory alternative means to address the threat to the national security".

He said the US President's decision was a mistake because it created economic and commercial nationalism.

Ross himself heads to Beijing on Friday where he will attempt to get firm deals to export more USA goods in a bid to cut America's US$375 billion (S$502 billion) trade deficit with China.