The Trump administration will impose new duties on steel and aluminum imports from three key trading partners — the European Union, Canada and Mexico — after failing to reach deals with them to address national security concerns related to the imports, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday.
The decision, which comes just days after President Donald Trump broke a cease-fire in an escalating trade dispute with China, is certain to inflame relations with the three trading partners and invite retaliation.
The three allies were previously given temporary exemptions from the duties — 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum. In the case of Canada and Mexico, the U.S. had hoped to address its national security concerns in the context of ongoing efforts to renegotiate NAFTA, but those talks have taken longer than expected and there is now no precise end date in sight, Ross said. Talks with the European Union made some progress, but not enough to warrant a permanent exemption or another temporary exemption, he said.