But Germany's Altmaier insisted that the Europeans were being "constructive" and were ready to negotiate special trade arrangements, notably for liquefied natural gas and industrial goods, including cars.
"They report a really high surplus on trade with us".
He added: "The U.S. now leaves us with no choice but to proceed with a WTO dispute settlement case and with the imposition of additional duties on a number of imports from the U.S. We will defend the Union's interests, in full compliance with global trade law".
She said: "If players in the world don't stick to the rule book the system might collapse".
Washington cited national security reasons for the tariffs.
Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, tells reporters Friday that he remains optimistic about the outcome of negotiations with Canada, Europe and Mexico in spite of recent escalations.
"We were not at the negotiating table. We would have preferred not to take that kind of decision". "So now this door for the moment is closed".
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"The ball is in the camp of the United States, it is up to the American administration to take the right decisions to smooth the situation and to alleviate the difficulties", he added.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, campaigning in advance of the June 7 provincial election, savaged the US president as she called the tariff measure short-sighted and urged Trudeau "to take the strongest retaliation possible to protect our workers" and industry.
For the European Union, a decision on just how far to push back will require agreement among the 28 member states that make up the world's biggest trade bloc.
Mexico complained that the tariffs will "distort worldwide trade" and said it will penalize U.S. imports including pork, apples, grapes, cheeses and flat steel.
The EU disputes the American argument. The EU has said it would respond with tariffs on $3.3 billion in American imports as early as June 20. The said tariffs came into force on Thursday midnight.
Negotiations on a further exemption for Canada had focused on agreeing to US demands that NAFTA force auto makers to use more North American-made steel, the sources said. "So it's not like trade is imbalanced against the USA favor on us".
"The unilateral protectionist move does not benefit any country", Aso said.
Among major steel exporters to the USA, which are not exempted, are India, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, China, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.
"The ties of commerce, friendship, and in many cases, family, between Americans and Canadians are undiminished", he said, in announcing that Canada is slapping counter-tariffs on the United States.
US Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue warned in a letter to the body's board that current trade policies could threaten economic progress and cause the loss of more than 2 million jobs, mostly in states that voted for Trump.