Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland respond to Donald Trump’s tariffs

A steel factory in Germany

It comes a day before an exemption to the planned tariffs is due to expire.

The European Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28 EU members, has said the bloc should be permanently exempted from the tariffs since it is an ally and not the cause of steel and aluminum overcapacity.

"We will not accept this highly regrettable decision without reacting", he said.

In a series of tweets shared at the time, Trump expanded on his initial plans to implement tariffs after an announcement he made in March.

It prompted threats of retaliation from the European Union on U.S. products before the policy was abandoned.

"Canada considers it frankly absurd that we would in any way be considered to be a national security threat to the United States", Freeland told reporters Wednesday.

"That Canada could be considered a national-security threat to the United States is inconceivable", said Trudeau, adding that the people of the US are not Canada's target, and that the federal government would far prefer that its hand not be forced.

South Korea, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil have all signed separate trade deals with the United States, and will be exempt from all or part of the tariffs.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker called tariffs "totally unacceptable" and pledged to introduce counter balancing measures in the coming hours. Nucor Corp., the biggest USA steel producer, rose 0.6 per cent to US$64.49.

Republicans in Congress called the tariffs "dumb" and "damaging" after the White House announcement, and a United States retail industry trade group said they "will raise the cost of doing business for thousands of American companies, including retailers, and will stifle efforts to expand and create jobs".

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told French daily Le Figaro it would be announced either before markets opened or after they closed.

USA and European officials held last-ditch talks in Paris on Thursday to try to avert a deal, though hopes are low and fears of a trade war are mounting.

Shares of USA steel and aluminum producers gained on Thursday after the Trump administration moved ahead with tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union, ending a two-month exemption.

Susan Danger, CEO of the American Chambers of Commerce to the European Union, said she is "very concerned by the damage a tit-for-tat dispute would cause to the transatlantic economy and its impact on jobs, investment and security across the Atlantic".

"This is dumb. Europe, Canada, and Mexico are not China, and you don't treat allies the same way you treat opponents", said Sen. Canada was expected to respond later Thursday, but said earlier this week it would react "appropriately" to any tariffs.

"Today is a bad day for world trade", said European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström.

Malmstrom is meeting U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Paris on Thursday among other global trade chiefs.

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