But as negotiations on trade continue between the USA and the rest of the world, economists say the impact of these new tariffs on the global economy is not as big as the threat of a global trade war.
"We want free and open world trade because for consumers and for citizens this is the best situation", acting German Finance Minister Peter Altmaier said.
"We are continuing our discussions", Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said during a press conference held on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session underway in Beijing.More news: Philadelphia Eagles make the right call signing Bradham over Robinson
Zhong said China would continue to "relax market access" to China and said China would also attach greater importance to intellectual property right, another point of tension with the U.S.
That may not reflect the current mood in Washington.
But the target of Trump's ire is China, whose capacity expansions have helped add to global surpluses of steel.
While some countries in the World Trade Organisation may be considering action, Mr Turnbull said the exemption meant Australia did not have a basis to bring a complaint. The Commission spokesman also pointed to USA import duties of up to 48 percent on shoes, 12 percent on textiles and 164 percent on peanuts.More news: CB Butler leaving Patriots for $61 million deal with Titans
One business source who had discussed the issue with the White House said the figure had now grown to about US$60 billion, with a potentially wider array of products under consideration.
US automakers, in general, have much at stake as Trump makes decisions on problems such as the pending renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and an evaluation of fuel economy requirements through 2025. China accounts for only a small fraction of United States steel imports, but its massive industrial expansion has helped create a global glut of steel that has driven down prices. They recommended tariffs, import quotas or both. He added that foreign steel dumping was an "assault" that put U.S. companies and factories out of business.
"As long-standing security partners of the United States, (the European Union and Japan) underlined to ambassador Lighthizer their expectation that European Union and Japanese exports to the USA would be exempted from the application of higher tariffs", an European Union statement said after the talks.
"That being said, any benefits attributable to tariffs are likely to be outweighed by costs".More news: Vancouver 'still game' for World Cup bid despite cost concerns
"I don't think we're at the end of it". The figure for February fell slightly from the previous month to US$21 billion, according to the latest data from the customs administration. Neither China, nor the USA will come out of that as winners. Perhaps Trump should take a look at what happened when his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama imposed trade restrictions: they did the United States more harm than good.
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