In announcing his country's response, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was "inconceivable" that "Canada could be considered a national security threat to the United States", noting that US fighter planes and tanks contain Canadian steel.
France's finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, called the USA tariffs "unjustified, unjustifiable and risky". "The European Commission now needs to put in place protection measures on a provisional basis without delay". Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesperson, also called the tariffs "unlawful".
Before receiving today's unwelcome news, the top worldwide trade official for Mexico's influential Business Coordinating Council (CCE) said that the organization had asked the Mexican government to respond to tariffs from the United States "with the same force" by imposing tariffs of its own on USA products.
And it is engaged in talks with Canada and Mexico to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The Mexican peso dropped about 1 percent and the Canadian dollar shed about 0.6 percent.
U.S. Commerce Department data show Canada is the top source of U.S. imports of steel and aluminum, while Mexico is the U.S.'s fourth-largest provider of steel and 10th-largest of aluminum. They are the two biggest suppliers of foreign vehicles to the U.S.
Negotiations with Europe had "made some progress" but not enough for additional exemptions, the commerce secretary said in a conference call from Paris.
The tariffs will impact directly on Port Talbot as around 10% of Tata Steel Europe's exports go to the US.
The Bush administration introduced steel tariffs in 2002 which lasted for 20 months. "Nothing", French President Emmanuel Macron said in an impassioned speech yesterday. Shares of BMW (BMWG.DE), Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) fell.
"These tariffs are an affront to the long-standing security partnership between Canada and the United States, and in particular, to the thousands of Canadians who have fought and died alongside American comrades-in-arms", he said.
France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire had met with Ross on Thursday in a bid to end the stand-off over steel and aluminium. EU members have given broad support to a European Commission plan to set duties on 2.8 billion euros ($3.4 billion) of USA exports if Washington ends tariff exemptions.
The EU said it would take action Friday through the World Trade Organization, setting in motion a process aimed at settling the dispute over the penalties. It's now tariffs for everybody, including the United States' closest military allies. "As we have said, we will always stand up for our workers, and today we're announcing retaliatory measures to this attack on our industry".
"We urge the European Union to consider this when initiating its response. With the expiration of the European Union exemption now confirmed to take effect tomorrow [June 1], unfortunately, our pessimism was justified, and we will now see damage not only to the United Kingdom steel sector but also the USA economy".