"The president's overwhelming objective is to reduce our trade deficit".
The Mexican measures, which target pork legs, apples, grapes and cheeses as well as steel, could hit farm states that are a bastion of support for U.S. President Donald Trump, ahead of American midterm elections in November.
Europe has been bracing for the U.S.to place the restrictions even as top European officials have held last-ditch talks in Paris with American trade officials to try to avert the tariffs.
On Wednesday, the Trudeau government said it would take additional steps to prevent foreign steel and aluminum from being dumped into the North American market - news that appeared created to try to head off the tariff decision.
"This is protectionism, pure and simple", he said. Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Ross denied this impression and said that there has been transshipment of Chinese steel and aluminum.More news: Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov meets Kim Jong
The countermeasures will hit US hot and cold rolled steel, plated steel and tubes, the ministry said.
The tariff exemption is to end at midnight tonight.
There had been a temporary exemption granted on the 25pc levy on steel and 10pc on aluminum for the European Union and others. "The fact that we took a tariff action does not mean there can not be a negotiation".
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in announcing the tariffs, said Nafta talks are "taking longer than we had hoped" to wrap up.
"Throughout these talks, the USA has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU", Malmstrom continued in a statement.More news: New Signing Fabinho Reveals How Liverpool Forward Convinced Him to Join Reds
Trump imposed the steel and aluminum penalties under a 1962 law that gives the president broad power to increase or reduce tariffs on goods deemed critical to national security.
Canada was the largest exporter of steel to the United States by value previous year, according to data from Wood Mackenzie. "Both Canada and Mexico will be put off by these tariffs, and may be less likely to agree to anything, for fear of looking like they are caving in to Trump's bullying".
Ross told a conference call with media this morning that he is looking forward to continuing negotiations.
But EU leaders have immediately vowed to retaliate against the United States, with the bloc ready to launch a case at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where it will trigger a "dispute settlement" as it believes the USA are breaking agreed worldwide trade rules.
Ross said the US would consider the effect of those measures.
"We will consider whatever actions they do take but our focus is as mentioned on national security aspects of steel and aluminum", he said.More news: U.S. To Continue Trade Actions Against China: White House
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