US gives a brief free pass to neighbours
The international community is up in arms following a controversial decision from US officials to impose a 25% tariff on steel, and 10% tariff on aluminium imports. President Trump has been very vocal in his bid to improve what he sees as a fair playing field for US metal producers, regularly stating his belief that imported products have hampered the US jobs market.
The two metals are "the backbone of our nation... the bedrock of our defence-industrial base", the president said at Thursday's signing ceremony.
"Our greatest presidents from Washington, to Jackson, to Lincoln, to McKinley and others - they protected our country from outside influence, from other countries coming in and stealing our wealth and stealing our jobs and stealing our companies, and we're going to be very fair, we're going to be very flexible, but we're going to protect the American worker, as I said I would do in my campaign."
The new tariffs are sure to create unnecessary waves, with China, one of America's largest trading partners describing the move as a "serious attack" on the system of international trade. In response, China will now look to target US imports including coal, agricultural products and electronics in a bid to force a reversal.
A similar approach will be taken from the EU, with the bloc quick to point out it stands as one of America’s closest trading partners.
For now at least, Canada and Mexico will stand exempt while negotiations continue over the North America Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). The deal is likely to be hammered out by early spring, but for the rest of the international community the new tariffs will take effect 15 days from the signing on Thursday.