PARIS — A day after the United States announced that it would be imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, European leaders took the position that the move was an illegal and unnecessary act of protectionist hostility.
They warned that it would be met with retaliatory countermeasures. But E.U. officials emphasized that they are not in a trade war with the United States.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who otherwise enjoys a strong personal rapport with President Trump and who had lobbied against the tariffs during an April state visit to the White House, was unusually unsparing in his criticism.
Macron spoke with Trump on Thursday night and called the tariffs “illegal” and a “mistake,” according to a readout released Friday by the Elysee Palace.
The German government likewise declared in a statement: “We consider this unilateral measure to be illegal; the cited grounds of national security do not stand up.”
And British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday that she was “deeply disappointed at the unjustified decision.”
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