The move angered EU as well as Mexico while Canada retaliated by saying it will impose tariffs covering $12.8 billion on imports from the US. The US tariffs come into effect on Friday.
The decision would land ahead of a Friday deadline for exemptions to the planned metals tariffs amid stalled trade talks with the EU, and would likely prompt retaliation from the bloc.
The self-serving policies of global trade giants may provide a small window of opportunity for developing nations to improve their own global competitiveness.
The Trump administration has launched a national security investigation into car and truck imports that could lead to new tariffs similar to those imposed on imported steel and aluminum.
Intensified US and Chinese competition on trade could reshape the international trading environment. More importantly it could be a precursor to a new form of US internationalism.
Britain says doing its own trade deals is a key benefit of Brexit as Prime Minister Theresa May urges the use of common trade standards across the Commonwealth bloc.
Addressing the Boao Forum for Asia, President Xi Jinping called for international cooperation against a backdrop of a spiralling dispute with the United States over trade and technology.
The latest US move risks heightening trade tensions with China, which on Monday had slapped taxes on $3 billion in US products in response to earlier US tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
China imposed the new tariffs on 128 US imports worth $3 billion, including fruits and pork, in retaliation to US duties on steel and aluminium.
Until Washington grants them that full exemption, EU leaders say that they reserve the right "to respond to the US measures as appropriate and in a proportionate manner."
This first salvo in reaction to US steel and aluminium tariffs could be overshadowed by the decision to approve a possible tariff hike on Chinese goods worth up to $60 billion over Beijing's technology policy.
Leaders of 44 African countries sign the deal in Rwanda that aims to create a continental market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined GDP of over $3.4 trillion.
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