Trump launches his trade war

Mexican workers disguised as President Donald Trump protest against his economic policies in late February in Mexico City

"This would certainly push the limits on that", says Robert Scott, a trade expert at the Economic Policy Institute.

President Donald Trump has signed proclamations imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. White House economic adviser Gary Cohn is summoning executives from US companies that depend on the metals to meet this week with Trump to try to persuade him to blunt or halt the tariffs announced last week, according to two people familiar with the matter.

During the signing ceremony, Trump said: "Due to the unique nature of our relationship with Canada and Mexico. we're gonna hold off the tariff for those two countries".

"It's all about pressure", CTV analyst Craig Oliver said of Trump's announcement.

But the industry also fears the indirect consequences of Mr Trump's actions, which could lead to cheap Chinese steel being dumped on European markets instead of sold to the USA.

However, as NPR's Anthony Kuhn notes, "Despite China's objections, the tariffs are not likely to do it much damage, since less than 2 percent of China's steel exports go to the U.S".

"American companies have not been treated fairly and some American companies frankly have taken advantage of it and gone to other countries and developed in Mexico, massive automobile plants, taking our jobs away and taking our companies down to Mexico to make the cars and then they send them right across the border without tax, without anything", he said.

Trump critic and vocal free trader, Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), said he would announce a legislation that would nullify the tariffs. Yet, Congress is now seeking countermeasures it can take against President Trump on this issue, but many Congressional leaders won't seek defense if Trump goes ahead with the tariffs.

Beyond imposing retaliatory tariffs on US goods, the EU is prepared to file a case at the World Trade Organization against the Trump administration in cooperation with other countries and to introduce "safeguard" measures to prevent steel shipments from other parts of the world to America from being diverted to the European market and flooding it.

Many top Republicans disagree with the President's tariffs, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Ford last week also predicted that the tariffs "could result in an increase in domestic commodity prices - harming the competitiveness of American manufacturers".

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Technically, Trump wouldn't have to remove the tariffs if the WTO declared them illegal.

In response to the steel measure, the European Union is targeting 2.8 billion euros ($3.5 billion) of imports of USA goods including Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levi jeans and bourbon whiskey.

While Trump has tweeted that he will show flexibility to countries that treat the USA fairly on trade a military issues, it seems with this administration, anything can change.

"I think everybody else really doesn't want a trade war with the USA, and they don't want a sharp decline in global trade", he said, predicting that the countries affected will make efforts to de-escalate the trade disputes.

Those briefed on the plans say the exclusion for Canada and Mexico could be ended, if talks stall to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

His comments in a Cabinet meeting Thursday come hours before a 3:30 p.m. meeting to formalize the tariffs amid uncertainty in the West Wing over which countries will be exempted from the protectionist measure.

"The UK government must work with other European Union nations to ensure we do not suffer the global consequences of Donald Trump's actions". Can they stand up to Trump or will they fold like a house of cards?

"Based on this initial report, almonds are not on the targeted list", said the ABC.

Mr Brady and more than 100 House Republicans urged Mr Trump on Wednesday to use narrowly focused tariffs to take action against China and other countries instead of across-the-board measures.

Trade wars happen when one nation raises tariffs on imports, and other nations retaliate with their own tariffs.

Sen. Orrin Hatch told reporters he thought Congress could stop the tariffs from being implemented.