Barry Soper: Donald Trump's trade war will make America grate again

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For partners like the European Union - which is the top supplier of steel to the United States in terms of value, though not volume - the exemptions serve to make the tariffs even more punitive, because their products will now be forced to compete not only with US products but also with Canadian and Mexican materials, which will benefit from not having to pay the tariff. "Do you know quite how much US steel Canada buys?" said another person familiar with Canada's lobbying effort.

Some European policymakers said they anxious the tariffs were part of a broader assault by the Trump administration on ties between Europe and Washington, which has been the backbone of the post-World War II Western order.

President Donald Trump ratcheted up the economic pressure on the European Union over the weekend, threatening to turn allies into enemies at home and overseas with his trade pronouncements.

He said other countries could be spared the tariffs if they can convince the USA government that their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American industry. And so, a reckless combination of state ownership and massive government funding has led to a glut of steel being continually shipped to the US - and often at below the cost of production.

They were also seen as hypocritical at a time when the Republican administration was trying to encourage other countries to liberalize trade policies - and reduce their tariffs - through the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks that were happening at the time. "We are passionately committed to free trade, but it must be fair", said Turnbull.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that "no one can win in such a race to the bottom" while French President Emmanuel Macron said Trump risked provoking a mutually destructive "trade war".

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The U.S. represents 15.7 per cent of United Kingdom vehicle exports and an increased U.S. auto import tariff would likely damage United Kingdom exports.

"The initial reaction down here was basically, 'You've already called us subhuman rapists so this is par for the course, '" said former Mexican Congressman Agustín Barrios Gómez, who now serves as president of the Mexico Image Foundation.

Canada is the biggest source of USA steel imports, while Mexico is in the top five, meaning a significant share of imports will be exempt from the tariffs. He further reiterated that even if India retaliated by raising tariffs, being a free market economy, being resource laden, and having access to global technology and capital, India will continue to stand strong. But free trade rules that gives America a bigger share of the global winnings and keeps us rich and safe is better still.

"Our trade relationship, as the president acknowledges, is a fair and reciprocal one", Turnbull said. The tariffs will also cost 14,400 jobs here. President Trump doesn't believe they should pay no price if they refuse. It agrees with ACC that the tariffs will be harmful to competitiveness.

The tariffs rollout has been rife with confusion and dissension in the White House.

There's no indication from the American President that he'll stop at simply raising the metal bar. "It looked like Canada was potentially going to play hard to get". "I think our allies and others need to know that there is some pushback here".

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