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US on brink of trade war with EU, Canada and Mexico as tit-for-tat tariffs begin

US is on the brink of a full scale trade war with its traditional allies..

     

The United States and its traditional allies are on the brink of a full-scale trade war after European and Canadian leaders reacted swiftly and angrily to Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium producers.

The president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, promised immediate retaliation after the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said EU companies would face a 25% duty on steel and a 10% duty on aluminium from midnight on Thursday.

Europe, along with Canada and Mexico, had been granted a temporary reprieve from the tariffs after they were unveiled by Donald Trump two months ago.

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Wall Street slumped as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 250 points as investors sold off shares in manufacturers and corporations with global reach. Shares across Europe also declined.

 

 

The move from Washington – which comes at a time when Trump is also threatening protectionist action against China – triggered an immediate and angry response from Canada, Brussels and from individual European capitals.

Juncker called the US move “unjustified” and said the EU had no choice but to hit back with tariffs on US goods and a case at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva.

The UK, which has hopes of agreeing a trade liberalisation deal with the US after Brexit, expressed alarm at Ross’s announcement.

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, said Britain would not rule out countermeasures or taking Washington to the WTO, which arbitrates on global trade disputes.

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