In January 2017, Trump warned German auto companies he would impose a border tax of 35 percent on vehicles imported to the U.S. market. The minister was in Singapore to attend a regional trade conference.
U.S. President Donald Trump spoke out defiantly on Friday in the face of global criticism of his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, claiming trade wars are "easy to win". Canada's leadership said they would retaliate with tariffs on US exports.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump often said he planned to use the White House to focus squarely on what he viewed as trade imbalances caused by China and Mexico, but the moves he's threatened in the past week would likely have little impact on them.
Wilbur Ross, U.S. commerce secretary, speaks during an Economic Club of New York event in New York, Oct. 25, 2017.
The aggressive stance stoked fears of an unchecked cycle of trade retaliation and roiled markets.
"Because we are such a huge export nation we stand to be among the biggest losers from a global trade war so we have to be the ones trying to pull the elephants together".
"I'd wonder if this isn't just a first step, that Trump has in mind raising other tariffs".
U.S. Steel CEO David Burritt said Thursday that the plan is "vital to the interests of the U.S". Harley-Davidson motorbikes are from Wisconsin and bourbon is produced in Kentucky, the home state of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
Mr Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said last Friday that the government "rejects" the USA tariffs, adding that such measures could lead to a global trade war, which "can't be in anyone's interest".
The chief executive officer of Germany's Siemens AG was the latest to slam the tariff plan.
To prove this, Trump, in one of his first acts in the Oval Office, took the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free-trade agreement that was championed by his predecessor, Barack Obama. "Not good for customers, not good for jobs".
"It's good for the whole world if China prospers".
Industry insiders were less restrained. "The countries we deal with are not going to sit there and take this", said Phil Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. "If the European Union does not react, our steel industry will pay the bill for US protectionism".
The US oil lobby has criticised the move, noting that its members rely on steel imports in drilling, on and offshore production, pipelines, liquefied natural gas terminals and refineries. But they could also have serious consequences for businesses that use the metals - as well as consumers that buy those goods. Last but not least, under U.S. law Canada is included as a part of the U.S. National Technology and Industrial Base related to national defense. He said he supports the tariffs. This resulted in aluminum nearing a two-year high at 17 cents per pound, while steel exploded to a six-year high of $840 per ton, prices that elated domestic metals producers and metalworkers who could see a more secure job outlook. "We think overall, the danger is contagion - the reaction - rather than the actual tariffs themselves", Fat Prophets resources analyst David Lennox told AFP.