A top trade official in the European Union warned the White House on Thursday that it has an "arsenal" of measures at its disposal to fight back against President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out "subversion" at VA MORE's planned tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
"Dialogue is always the prime option of the European Union", Malmstroem told reporters on Friday, saying Brussels was "counting on being excluded" from the new duties.
However, he said "real friends" of the United States could win waivers from the measures, which come into force after 15 days. "Looking forward to meeting USTR Lighthizer in Brussels on Sat to discuss".
"These tariffs will stimulate two things that Trump says he loathes: regulations and lobbying", said Bloomberg Intelligence trade-policy analyst Caitlin Webber.
Separately, major trading partners of the United States expressed both commercial and systemic concerns about its tariffs plan and said they feared tit-for-tat trade actions, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) spokesman said.
European industry associations called on Malmstrom to respond if the EU was subjected to the tariffs, saying they would hit the steel and aluminum sectors hard. European steel producers are concerned about a loss of market access, but also that steel from elsewhere will flood in.
"The loss of exports to the US, combined with an expected massive import surge in the European Union, could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the European Union steel industry and related sectors", said Axel Eggert, head of steel association. He also added Australia to the list of likely carve-outs.
Trump has long railed against what he deems unfair trade practices by China and others, and last week declared that he would levy penalties of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports. China accounts for only a small fraction of USA steel imports, but its rapid rise to produce half the world's steel has helped create a global glut that has driven down prices. The tariffs would "seriously impact the normal order of global trade", the Ministry of Commerce said.
Adding: "We understand the anxieties about steel over-production that the United States has but we believe there are other ways to tackle that on a multilateral basis". She also stated that the justification given by the US was highly unjust.
Within minutes of Trump's announcement, U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a critic of the president, said he would introduce a bill to nullify the tariffs.
South Korea, the third-largest steel exporter to the USA, is also considering joining an action at the WTO.
South Korea´s national security office chief Chung Eui-yong asked US officials to support Seoul´s request for a waiver, a presidential spokesman said.