From Japan and South Korea to Australia and Europe, officials lined up on Friday to seek exemptions from President Donald Trump's tariffs on USA steel and aluminum imports, while Chinese producers called on Beijing to retaliate in kind. "We will have to protect our industry with rebalancing measures, safeguards".
She did not say what level of tariffs the European Union would set, leaving it unclear what the economic impact would be. "We work together. We can not possibly be a threat to national security in the USA, so we are counting on being excluded", she said.
"This is protectionism which offends close partners like the European Union and Germany and which limits free trade", Brigitte Zypries said in a statement.
"It could disrupt the steel and aluminium markets of the world and have a negative impact", Seko told reporters after his meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer in which he sought an exemption for Japanese producers.
Under World Trade Organisation rules, such counter-measures have to be in place within 90 days of the United States tariffs entering force.
The DIHK trade group, BDA employers association, BDI industry group and German Confederation of Skilled Crafts said: "German industry is extremely concerned about the decisionof the U.S. government to imposed far-reaching punitive tariffs".
Trump said Canada and Mexico are exempt for now, and other countries could be spared if they can convince the administration that their steel and aluminum exports don't threaten American jobs and industry.
The EU is also maintaining a threat of counter-measures that would target U.S. imports ranging from maize to motorcycles and may publish its list next week to allow industry and other interested parties to give their input.
At that time, the European Union compiled a list of items for retaliatory tariffs that included steel products, but also orange juice, apples, sunglasses, knitwear, motor boats and photocopying machines.
Brazil is the United States' No. 2 steel supplier.
The EU itself already has tariffs on many imports.
Argentina accounts for just 0.6 per cent of USA steel imports and 2.3 percent of its aluminum imports.
Within minutes of Trump's announcement, U.S. Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a critic of the president, said he would introduce a bill to nullify the tariffs.
Both Katainen and Malmström said that the root cause of the problem in the steel and aluminium sector is global overcapacity. "It's been planned for several weeks", a Commission official said on Thursday.
South Korea, the third largest steel exporter to the United States and a strategic ally on the Korean peninsula, called for calm.