Mr Ross counselled strongly against imposing retaliatory measures on U.S. imports if American President Donald Trump goes ahead with his promise to impose hefty tariffs on European steel and aluminium to protect USA consumers.
Trump's announcement lifted American steel and aluminum stocks because those companies stand to benefit from penalties against their foreign competitors.
She calls the US measures illegal and counterproductive.
The official justification for the tariffs is national security.
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But German politicians and industry groups have said they are concerned that tit-for-tat measures could end in damaging tariffs on German automobiles, an outcome that Trump has repeatedly threatened.
"My position remains unchanged: Tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are a tax hike on Americans and will have damaging consequences for consumers, manufacturers and workers", Hatch said in a statement.
"This is another negotiation tactic on the United States side because there are other negotiations going on".
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had traveled to Washington on Tuesday to discuss the issue, among other matters, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. The bloc also plans to proceed with a case at the World Trade Organization against the USA import restrictions.
European and U.S. equities lost ground slightly on fears the U.S. measures could spark a trade war.
Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, gave a speech in Brussels on Thursday afternoon armed with a separate piece of paper on which was written the bloc's reaction should Trump decide to remove the exemption from the levies he imposed in March on national-security grounds. The U.S. negotiating stance on China trade became more chaotic on Wednesday, as Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro called Mnuchin's comments an "unfortunate soundbite".
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"Throughout these talks, the USA has sought to use the threat of trade restrictions as leverage to obtain concessions from the EU", Malmstrom continued in a statement. The tariffs will officially take effect for these markets at 12.01 a.m. on Friday.
Weber adds that Trump's decision has to be a wake-up call for us Europeans: "with the U.S. closing in on itself, we should be bridge-builders & reliable partners for the rest of the world". Likely targets are thought to be USA exports of jeans, motorcycles and bourbon.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, whom Ross was scheduled to meet in Paris on Thursday morning, said on Wednesday that the European Union did not want a trade war either but would respond if Washington imposed tariffs.
That means that President Donald Trump will be face to face with a number of leaders who have taken retaliatory action against the USA when he makes his closely watched Canadian debut at the G7 next week in Quebec.
The tariffs, which apply to a long list of USA products that includes everything from flat-rolled steel to playing cards and felt-tipped pens, will go into effect July 1, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told a news conference Thursday.
Le Maire warned that the European Union would take "all necessary measures" if the U.S. imposed the tariffs. "We will respond appropriately", she said. "The president's overwhelming objective is to reduce our trade deficit".
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