"The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the USA very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum. Instead we should concentrate on improving our trading conditions".
Trump has said that the tariffs are necessary on national security grounds, but Malmstrom insisted this is a ruse: "We suspect that the USA move is effectively not based on security considerations but an economic safeguard measure in disguise".
"In addition to rejecting and reworking failed trade deals, the United States will crack down on those nations that violate trade agreements and harm American workers in the process".
Malmstrom, who held talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Saturday, said she had not been given any clear reassurance that the European Union would be exempted. "That would hurt both the USA and EU", said Czech Member of European Parliament Jan Zahradil, who claims that his Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists, a natural ally for the GOP, was the most "pro-Atlantic" in Brussels.
That helped continue a trend of flattening yield curves on USA government bonds, with the spread between two- and 10-year Treasury yields down 3.2 basis points to 55.3 basis points.
Higher tariffs on these products would "hurt American families", said Hun Quach, a trade lobbyist for the Retail Industry Leaders Association.More news: Former Equifax CIO faces insider trading charges
The US trade deficit with China ran to a record $375 billion a year ago but US exports to the country were also at a record.
So far, only Mexico and Canada are thought to be exempt from the tariffs, which impose a 25 per cent levy on steel imports entering the country and 10 per cent on aluminium.
One Washington business source who had discussed the issue with the White House said the figure had grown to about $60 billion, with a potentially wider array of products under consideration.
Trump has spoken strongly about China's alleged theft of intellectual property, as well as the wider trade surplus it maintains with the US.
U.S. business groups, while uneasy about triggering Chinese retaliation, have increasingly pressed Washington to take action on Beijing's industrial policies, such as market access restrictions and the "Made in China 2025" plan, which aims to supplant foreign technologies with domestic ones.
Senior officials familiar with the new plan, said that the administration is considering on more than 100 Chinese products ranging from electronics and telecommunications equipment to furniture and toys, Politico said adding that the new tariffs are expected to be rolled out beginning as soon as next week. "You can't cooperate when you're getting whacked around", the person told Reuters.