Trump's real target isn't foreign steel or aluminum; it's the WTO

The US will add a 25% import tax to any batches of steel and 10% to any lots of aluminum shipping from anywhere in the world but Mexico and Canada, he said.

She will meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko in Brussels on Saturday when she will ask whether the European Union is to be included in the tariffs.

U.S. allies might be asked to increase their financial commitments to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to avoid new U.S. tariffs on their exports of steel and aluminum to the United States, the U.S. Treasury secretary has said.

U.S. President Donald Trump signs Section 232 Proclamations on Steel and Aluminum Imports in the Oval Office of the White House on March 8, 2018, in Washington, DC.

He said Lighthizer did not give a specific answer to the request for Japan to be exempted, but did explain the timeline and procedures for the new tariffs.

"Europe is certainly not a threat to American internal security, so we expect to be excluded", Malmstrom, the 28-nation EU's trade commissioner, told reporters in Brussels on Friday.

He said the conversation also touched on the security alliance between the US and Australia, as well as possible talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"Taking retaliatory measures won't work in the interest of any country", he said at the news conference.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: "We all have to choose whether we want rules-based trade - which supports rules-based world order - or do we want rule of force, or the rule of the strongest, which we have now seen?"

Donald Trump hit out again on Twitter afterwards, writing: "The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the USA very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum".

Jens Spahn, state secretary in the German Finance Ministry, on Sunday called for negotiations, saying that "a trade war helped no one".

He tweeted: "For example, an American vehicle going to China pays 25 per cent import duty, but a Chinese auto coming to the U.S. only pays 2.5 per cent, a tenfold difference".

China on Friday accused US President Donald Trump of damaging the global trading system by hiking steel and aluminum tariffs.

Foreign steel producers are not only concerned about losing access to the US market but also that steel from other exporters will flood already saturated markets, threatening jobs elsewhere.

Trump said the tariff hikes ordered Thursday were needed to protect US national security by ensuring the survival of the country's metals producers.

Its director, Gareth Stace, said: "The UK sector is in the midst of a fragile recovery following years of considerable turmoil, it would be utterly devastating if this were to be undermined".

"There's just a lot of uncertainty", says Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, a research firm.

European industry associations called on Malmstrom to react to the tariffs.

Technically, Trump wouldn't have to remove the tariffs if the WTO declared them illegal.

The official said ways had to be found to address steel overcapacity in China as South Korea was the top importer of Chinese steel, although shipments from China were 21% down in 2017 from the previous year.

  • Kyle Peterson