threatened retaliation against the United States after President Trump vowed to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Denunciations flowed in on Friday from governments, lawmakers, metals makers and labor unions.
Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said on Friday that the government “rejects” the tariffs, adding that such measures could lead to a global trade war, which “can’t be in anyone’s interest.”
Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, president of the German Steel Federation, said on Friday:
“These measure clearly violate the rules of the World Trade Organization. If the E.U. does not react, our steel industry will pay the bill for U.S. protectionism.”
He called on the bloc to take action, through the World Trade Organization.
Simon Clarke, a Conservative member of Britain’s Parliament and vice chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Steel and Metal Related Industries, wrote on Twitter on Friday:
“Tariffs are the worst possible option for the world economy and a major threat to U.K. steel in particular.”
Roy Rickhuss, general secretary of Community Union, a British labor union, also denounced the move on Twitter:
“Donald Trump is putting jobs at risk on both sides of the Atlantic. Thousands of steelworkers across the country voted for Brexit on the promise it would deliver a new era of international trade.”
He called on Prime Minister Theresa May to ensure that steel products exported by Britain were exempt from the proposed tariffs.
The global reactions hinted at a looming trade war if Mr. Trump followed through on campaign promises of an “America First” trade policy. He told industry executives on Thursday that he planned to levy penalties of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports from all countries.
On Friday, the president doubled down on his promise in a Twitter post:“When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win.” He added later, “If you don’t have steel, you don’t have a country!