Trump tariffs show Liam Fox "as useful as a chocolate fireguard"

President Donald Trump during a bill signing ceremony at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Building in Washington

President Donald Trump during a bill signing ceremony at the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Building in Washington

'Canada is a secure supplier of aluminium and steel to the U.S. defence industry, putting aluminium in American planes and steel in American tanks, ' Mr Trudeau said.

The administration has maintained that a new deal between the US and its neighbors would reduce trade deficits and bring back jobs to American workers.

On Thursday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that the exemptions would be allowed to lapse, meaning European Union steel makers exporting to the U.S. would face tariffs of 25% and aluminium producers 10%.

His customers can now expect to pay 25% more because of U.S. tariffs on steel exports, which could hurt his business.

EU, Canada and Mexico also draw up retaliatory measures to Washington's stinging steel and aluminium duties.

Washington will announce plans to slap tariffs on European Union steel and aluminium imports as early as Thursday morning, sources said, while the USA commerce secretary said any escalation of their trade dispute would depend on the bloc's reaction.

"With some half billion dollars of steel exported from the U.K.to US last year, United Kingdom steel producers are going to be hit hard", he added.

Tariffs have led to higher steel and aluminum prices in the United States, benefiting producers but potentially squeezing profit margins of large companies that use the metals.

"It's totally unacceptable that a country is imposing unilateral measures when it comes to world trade", he said.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker denounced the move as "protectionism pure and simple", while a UK Government spokesman described it as "deeply disappointing".

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"Earlier today, this message was conveyed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada: The United State will agree to a fair deal, or there will be no deal at all", Trump said.

The U.S.is still renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada.

Brussels has previously threatened to slap tariffs on U.S. products including bourbon, motorcycles and blue jeans.

EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Thursday the European side is "ready to deal with any kind of scenario, and to defend the EU interests and worldwide trade law".

The measures, touted by President Donald Trump in March, drew condemnation from Republican lawmakers and the country's main business lobbying group and sent a chill through financial markets.

After the US action, the European Union announced plans to bring its case against the USA tariffs to the WTO on Friday.

EU members have given broad support to a European Commission plan to set duties on 2.8 billion euros (S$4.4 billion) of United States exports if Washington ends tariff exemptions. Brazil, Argentina and Australia reached what Mr. Trump called "satisfactory" deals to head off tariffs, but Canada, Mexico and the European Union apparently fell short. The EU also started the process of filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization.

Mexico complained that the tariffs will "distort worldwide trade" and said it will penalize United States imports including pork, apples, grapes, cheeses and flat steel.

"Americans remain our partners, our allies and our friends", he said.

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