"The UK and other European Union countries are close allies of the USA and should be permanently and fully exempted from the American measures on steel and aluminium", the United Kingdom said in a statement.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced this morning that the USA will move forward in implementing steel and aluminum tariffs against the E.U., Canada and Mexico unveiled this past March, rather than extending a previous deadline Friday that had exempted allies from the tariffs.
"Today is a bad day for world trade", said European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström.
"World trade is not a gunfight at the O.K. Corral", French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire quipped Thursday, in reference to a 1957 western movie. Discussions could then be expanded to include other countries to agree on changes by the end of the year.
Ross, however, does not expect trade talks to be derailed because of the U.S' move.
Meanwhile, negotiations with Canada and Mexico to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement were "taking longer than we had hoped" and there was no "precise date" for concluding them, so their exemption also would be removed, Ross told reporters.
That exemption was due to expire on Friday.
Canada, Mexico and Europe had been exempted until June 1 from import duties of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum when they were first imposed in March.
Economists say the standoff with the European Union could tip toward a trade war, particularly after Trump last week launched another national security investigation into auto and truck imports that could lead to new USA tariffs.
The American met Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire earlier today in a last ditch attempt from the bloc to prevent U.S. tariffs.
'We think on the contrary that global trade must have rules in a context of multilateralism.
The move will likely trigger serious retaliation from the three countries and push the United States to the edge of a trade war.
The EU has already said it will respond by imposing tariffs on United States products such as motorcycles and jeans.
"These solutions might bring symbolic satisfaction in the short term", Macron said.
But Macron said those "who waged bilateral trade wars. saw an increase in prices and an increase in unemployment". That hurts the companies and can lead to more expensive consumer prices, economists say.
"This is not the way we do business, and certainly not between longstanding partners, friends and allies", Malmström said.
Ross is scheduled to go to China this weekend for a third round of negotiations.
But German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier insisted the Europeans were being "constructive" and were ready to negotiate special trade arrangements, notably for liquefied natural gas and industrial goods, including cars.