WASHINGTON – The Trump administration will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe, Mexico and Canada.
The move comes after the US failed to win concessions from their allies, but the plans could change if a last-minute agreement is reached before Friday's deadline.
"We continue to be quite willing and indeed eager to have further discussions," US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.
Ross confirmed there will be a 25 percent tariff on imported steel, along with a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum aimed at promoting free and fair trade.
President Donald Trump announced the tariffs in March but said Canada, EU, Mexico and other US allies would be granted temporary exceptions.
If the tariffs go into effect, it could spark retaliatory levies on US orange juice, peanut butter and other goods and even provoke trans-Atlantic trade tensions.
The European Commission's president, Jean-Claude Juncker, is already threatening countermeasures, saying Trump's decision amounted to trade protectionism.
"This is protectionism, pure and simple," Juncker charged.
Likewise, Mexico is hitting back, vowing to penalize US imports, including pork bellies, apples, grapes, cheeses and flat steel.
"Given the tariffs imposed by the US, Mexico will put in place equivalent measures on a range of products including flat steel . . . legs and shoulders of pork, sausages and other food preparations, apples, grapes, blueberries, and various cheeses, among others," the Financial Times quoted Mexico's economy ministry.
The move by the US could also hinder North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.
Secretary Ross added that he plans to resume trade talks with China on Friday.