The EU said in a statement that both Brussels and Tokyo had serious concerns about the U.S. tariffs. Mnuchin said that the secretary of commerce is entitled to issue waivers for specific products, while only the president can exempt entire nations.
Australia buys around 60 percent of its military assets from the U.S., allows U.S. marines to rotate through Darwin every year, and swaps intelligence as part of the "Five Eyes" alliance also including Britain, New Zealand and Canada.
Back when most developing countries were trying to promote manufacturing with tariffs and import quotas, we used to talk about effective protection, which depended on the whole structure of tariffs.
"Our industries have been targeted for years and years - decades, in fact - by unfair foreign trade practices leading to the shuttered plants and mills, the laying-off of millions of workers and the decimation of entire communities".
Jeff Flake has threatened to introduce legislation to nullify the President's tariffs if they are anything like what Donald Trump is predicting.
The EU is also maintaining a threat of countermeasures that would target US imports ranging from corn to motorcycles, and might publish its list next week to allow industry and other interested parties to give their input. He excluded Mexico and Canada as long as they negotiate a new North American Free Trade Agreement, and threw the door open to further exclusions for countries and niche products.
Analysts at Capital Economics said the move looked like "another example of Trump's favored negotiating tactic of announcing punitive measures in the hope of extracting concessions". Moreover, "it is a major step toward undermining the international rule of law in trade, which the U.S. took the lead in creating ever since WWII". "If they drop their horrific barriers and tariffs on U.S. products going in, we will likewise drop ours", Trump wrote.
While Trump argued that new tariffs would boost American steel and aluminum production, economists and business groups have warned that such tariffs could backfire and ultimately hurt the overall U.S. economy. "In total, these tariffs are about $9 billion", he said.
That is not enough, however, and the tariffs, set to go into effect in 15 days, should be stopped, a responsibility that now falls to Congress.
"What people ought to do is judge this president based on results this achieves, not some theory that there may be problems with the method he's using", he said.
Teri Schultz, reporting for NPR from Brussels, says Malmstroem expects more details from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Saturday.
He and Republicans, who hold more traditionally conservative positions on trade, believe the president's proposed 25 percent hike on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum will have real consequences, especially for manufacturers, car-makers and others who use the raw materials.
"These tariffs aim to reverse this sorry state of affairs".