Trump ups pressure on Canada, Mexico

US says time running short for NAFTA talks, floats bilateral deals

President Donald Trump declared that he won't retreat from his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports after House Speaker Paul Ryan rejected the plan, saying the USA economy could suffer.

IMF, he said, is concerned that the measures proposed by the United States will, de facto, expand the circumstances where countries use the national-security rationale to justify broad-based import restrictions.

"Obviously this is the time for cool heads but it is also a time for governments around the world - and alternative governments - to point to dangers of this sort of protectionism and the benefits of trade".

"But if the USA takes actions that hurt Chinese interests, China will not sit idly by".

China is the world's largest steel producer but it accounts for less than one per cent of United States imports and sells only 10 per cent of its wrought aluminium overseas.

Trump has threatened to tax European cars if the EU boosts tariffs on American products in response to the president's plan to increase duties on steel and aluminum. Our steel industry is in bad shape.

"When you have the president of the United States going on the record and saying trade wars are good and they're easy to win, I shudder to think what that even means", Rufus Yerxa, president of the National Foreign Trade Council, told AFP.

"We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans - Levis", European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told German television.

"This is a very unsafe move, and it could spark a trade war that could have serious implications for Americans and the global economy", he added.

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Officials have so far been evasive when asked how the three nations can continue trying to update NAFTA at a time when the USA president is about to take a highly protectionist measure.

He is expected to reveal more details later this week. Action against American companies or goods would compete for attention with the National People's Congress, which the ruling Communist Party uses to showcase its economic plans.

This includes Canada, who is America's #1 supplier.

President Donald Trump says "we're not backing down" on his push to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum despite criticism from fellow Republicans.

Trade makes up a smaller share of China's economy than it did a decade ago.

The United States, China's No. 2 trade partner after the European Union, buys about 20 percent of Chinese exports but allows Beijing to run multibillion-dollar surpluses that offset its deficits with other partners.

Canberra has sought to be exempt from the hefty tariffs, citing an understanding reached with the United States at G-20 meetings a year ago. "Auto shoppers looking for a deal will instead find that they are paying a new tax to transport themselves and their families".

Rules for cars were scheduled to play a prominent role over the past week, but the top US negotiator on the issue was hurriedly summoned back to Washington on the first day of the talks to meet with representatives from American auto companies. It pledges to prevent Beijing from disrupting global trade.

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