Japan says US tariffs 'regrettable', warns of 'grave impact'

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono said trade tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium could harm economic relations between the US and Japan. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan hit out on Friday (March 9) at US President Donald Trump's decision to impose steep trade tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium, saying it could harm economic relations between the two allies.

"The measure could have a grave impact on the economic relationship of Japan and the US... and also on the global economy," said Foreign Minister Taro Kono, describing the move as "regrettable".

In an announcement that sparked fears of a global trade war, Trump said the tariffs - which will come into effect after 15 days - will not initially apply to Canada and Mexico.

He also said that close partners on security and trade could negotiate exemptions.

Some US allies have already vowed retaliation with the EU promising tariffs on items from steel to peanut butter, bourbon and denim - most of which are produced in states that Trump needs if he is to win re-election.

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