WASHINGTON – The Trump administration took a heavy blow to America's closest allies on Thursday, imposing steel and aluminum tariffs on Europe, Mexico and Canada in a move that generated immediate votes of retaliation.
Stock prices fell amid fears of trade wars, with the Dow Jones industrial average falling almost 252 points, or 1 percent, to 24,415.84.
Import duties threaten to increase prices for US consumers and companies and are likely to increase uncertainty for businesses and investors around the world.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said tariffs – 25 percent on imported steel, 10 percent on aluminum – would go into effect on Friday.
President Donald Trump originally imposed tariffs in March, saying that the security dependence. But it exempted Canada, Mexico and the European Union from buying time for negotiations, a postponement that expires at midnight on Thursday.
Other countries, including Japan, the closest ally of the United States in Asia, are already paying tariffs.
the actions of the administration provoked the fire of Europe, Canada and Mexico and promises to retaliate quickly against the American exports.
"This is protectionism, pure and simple," said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.
French President Emmanuel Macron described the decision of the United States to impose tariffs on the European Union as "illegal" and an "error". He remembered ominously the period before the Second World War and said: "Economic nationalism leads to war, which is exactly what happened in the 1930s."
The EU previously threatened to counterattack by targeting US products, including Kentucky bourbon, jeans and motorcycles. David O'Sullivan, the EU ambassador to Washington, said retaliation is likely to be announced by the end of June.
Mexico complained that tariffs "would distort international trade" and said it would penalize US imports, including pork, apples, grapes, cheeses and flat steel.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "These rates are totally unacceptable." Canada announced plans to apply tariffs on US products worth 12,800 million dollars, from steel to yogurt and toilet paper.  "Canada is a safe supplier of aluminum and steel to the US defense industry, placing aluminum on US aircraft and steel in US tanks," said Trudeau. "That Canada can be considered a threat to the national security of the United States is inconceivable."
Trump had campaigned for president with the promise to crack down on business partners and said he exploited poorly negotiated trade agreements to generate large trade surpluses with the US. UU
US rates UU they coincide with, and could complicate, the separate struggle of the Trump administration over Beijing's strong-arm tactics to overcome the technological supremacy of the United States. UU Ross goes to Beijing on Friday to hold talks aimed at preventing a trade war with China.
The two largest economies in the world threatened to impose tariffs on products of up to 200,000 million dollars.
The steel and aluminum tariffs could also complicate the administration's efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, an agreement that Trump has condemned as a "disaster" that kills jobs.
Trump offered the two American neighbors a permanent exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs if they accepted the United States' demands on NAFTA. But the NAFTA talks stalled.
Ross said that "there is no longer a very precise date when they can conclude", and that as a result, Canada and Mexico were added to the list of countries affected by tariffs.  Similarly, Trump's commercial team tried to use the tariff threat to pressure Europe to reduce barriers to US products. But the two parties could not reach an agreement.
Import tariffs will boost US steel and aluminum manufacturers by making foreign metals more expensive. But companies in the US UU Using imported steel will face higher costs.
And the tariffs will allow domestic steel and aluminum producers to raise prices, squeezing companies – from car manufacturers to can producers – who buy those metals.
Paul Ryan and several prominent Republicans in Congress criticized the administration's tariff action. Ryan said there are better ways to help American workers and consumers and that he plans to work with Trump on "those better options."
Prices started to rise even before all the rates went into effect. Stripmatic Products, a supplier of auto parts in Cleveland, has seen a 40 percent increase in the price of steel. The biggest cost meant losing this year to a Chinese company with a contract to expand into a new market: manufacture food processing equipment.
"Basically, we were eliminated from the competition," said Stripmatic president Bill Adler. He said the company needed four or five years to recover the last time the United States imposed steel tariffs in 2002.
Measured purely in dollars, the rates do not amount to much in the US $ 20 trillion economy. Speaking on CNBC on Thursday, Ross called the rates "blips on the radar screen."
But Oliver Rakau, an economist at Oxford Economics, warned that tariffs could cause economic damage because "it is likely that the specter of an escalation The Trump government is resorting to a weapon little used in trade policy: Section 232 of the Commercial Expansion Act of 1962. It empowers the president to restrict imports and impose unlimited tariffs if the Department of Commerce sees a threat to national security.
Europe, Japan and other US trading partners challenge the tariffs of the The United States in the World Trade Organization
The WTO gives countries a wide margin to determine national security interests, but there was an unwritten agreement that WTO member countries would use the justification of national security to avoid abuses.
Now that Trump has broken the taboo, critics fear that other countries will impose sanctions.  029] Critics say that steel and aluminum tariffs would do little to address the real problem affecting metal producers around the world: the massive overproduction of China that has flooded the global aluminum and steel markets. Canada, a strong ally of the US UU., It is the largest steel and aluminum supplier in the United States.
"Management's corrective trade measures should specifically target the structural overcapacity of aluminum in China, which is caused by rampant and illegal government subsidies," Heidi said. Brock, president of the Aluminum Association, which represents aluminum producers, manufacturers, recyclers and suppliers.
Ross said negotiations with Mexico, Canada and the EU can continue even once the rates are in effect.
But Philip Levy, a senior member of the Chicago Global Affairs Council and former White House business advisor, said: "I do not think this is the prelude to a series of agreements, but in any case, this eliminates the possibility of agreements. "
If the United States can impose tariffs any time it declares that imports are a threat to national security, Levy asked: "Why would anyone want to negotiate with us?"
___  The writers of The Associated Press Martin Crutsinger, Christopher Rugaber, Marcy Gordon, Jill Colvin and Kevin Freking in Washington; Angela Charlton and Alex Turnbull in Paris; Lorne Cook and Raf Casert in Brussels; Christopher Sherman in Mexico City; Rob Gillies in Toronto; and Barry Hatton in Lisbon, Portugal, contributed to this report.
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