EU joins battle against Trump tariff onslaught
Whistler (Canada): The EU has launched its first counteroffensive against Washington's punishing steel and aluminum tariffs while the US began meetings in Canada with outraged finance ministers from its top trading partners.
Meanwhile in Washington, Trump floated the possibility of scrapping the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement in favour of separate bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico.
Brussels and Ottawa filed legal challenges at the World Trade Organization against Washington's decision. The EU, Canada and Mexico also threatened stiff retaliatory tariffs as they pushed back against President Donald Trump's multi-front trade offensive.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "deeply disappointed" and reiterated a call for Britain and the EU to be "permanently exempted" from the "unjustified" metals tariffs.
As the Group of Seven ministerial opened in Canada, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin faced stern reaction from his counterparts, who accused Trump of jeopardizing the world economy with steps that would prove job killers for all concerned.
Canada Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the G7 discussions would be "difficult." "We are sending the message that these measures are not helpful," he told reporters.
And French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Europe "will not negotiate with a gun to our heads." They are joined at the meeting by officials from Britain, Germany, Italy and Japan.
"Unfortunately, we are being treated to a G6 + 1, with the United States squaring off against the rest and risking the economic destabilization of the planet," Le Maire said.