Meanwhile, the European Union said it hoped, like Canada and Mexico, to be exempted from US tariffs, or that it could iron out difference with the U.S.at the World Trade Organization.
Peter Navarro, Trump's trade and manufacturing adviser, said in an interview on Fox Business on Wednesday that the tariffs would go into effect within about 15 to 30 days and that the proclamation signed by the president would include a clause that would not immediately impose tariffs on Canada and Mexico. The US leader had also added Australia to a list of likely carve-outs, as a "great country" and "long-term partner".
Those "other countries" can try to negotiate their way out of the tariffs, he indicated, by ensuring their trade actions do not harm America's security.
Non-US governments, and particularly democracies, "are under enormous pressure not to be seen to be caving to the Trump administration", because of his unpopularity overseas, said Timothy Meyer, an worldwide trade specialist and law professor at Vanderbilt University. "It's really an assault on our country", he blasted, announcing the tariffs on the metals used in everything from cars to construction, roads to railways. "It's been an assault". A White House official said Trump was referencing an ongoing investigation of China in which the USA trade representative is studying whether Chinese intellectual property rules are "unreasonable or discriminatory" to American business.
This week's developments are the latest installment in a continuing controversy for the White House involving Daniels and a distraction from Trump's attempted rollout of tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
"I'm disappointed because we just passed a tax bill and this kind of flies in the face of that".
"Our presumption is that the European Union is a whole body and that the US will respect that", Malmstrom said.
But there was political criticism aplenty, especially from Trump's own Republican Party.
Allies, rivals alike hit out at Trump trade tariffs
South Korea, the third-largest steel exporter to the United States and a strategic ally on the Korean Peninsula, called for calm. Under World Trade Organization rules, such counter-measures have to be in place within 90 days of the US tariffs entering force.
"Once we see that reversed, demand will return, and we definitely will bring our people back and increase our utilization and our employment", he said. "Consumers pay higher prices or producers are hurt through some retaliatory policy".
Without doubt, however, those opposed to the import duties and inclined to use legal action will see this as an opportunity to undermine the USA argument.
Also in attendance were several long-time industry critics including Brent Bozell, the founder and president of the Media Research Center, a conservative-leaning media watchdog group.
European industry associations called on Malmstrom to react to the tariffs.
The European Union warned before the announcement that it was ready to retaliate with counter-measures against iconic USA products such as Harley Davidson motorcycles, Levi's jeans and bourbon. "Looking forward to meeting USTR Lighthizer in Brussels on Sat to discuss".
With Japan a major trade partner and global investor, Suga said that, on the contrary, they contributed greatly to employment and industry in the United States. Yet at no time has there been a suggestion that close allies Canada and Mexico constitute any kind of security risk to the U.S.