I agree with kittenOFchaos in that other tariffs will be imposed. This will reduce international trade overall. Unjustified tariffs tend to happen more during economic slow downs.
The tariff does seem to be aimed at Pacific Rim countries.
Time to speculate. I think it may have something to do with China and the apple thing as there has been quite a bit of hype from US politians about farm land no longer being farmed in an apple producing area. I know that there were some meetings between some major US Senate seat holders and the US Apple Industry about 4 months ago just after the apple harvest finished and they realised that they are going to lose an additional 15-18% of apple orchards. This is not as obvious as the Canadian/Brazil fiasco I mentioned earlier but it sure stinks of fish.
However, the US knows that it will take 6 to 12 months for a hearing to take place. In that time fram, they are probably betting on breaking the Chinese resolve. The complaint filed by the EU will be heard in 12 to 15 months with the help of US foot dragging, the WTO will rule the tariffs are illegal and the US will comply with the WTO and lift the tariff after having accomplished the goals they set out for in the Chinese thing.
The US protecting the steel industry is strategic as mentioned by others. The UK should do the same thing however, Mr. Blair is assuming the UK will always be friendly with current steel makers.
I am not bashing Americans nor am I bashing the EU. I feel that some of the EU member nations are currently suffering from the same complex Canadians suffer in an inferiority complex with the US.
The steel trariff is like Civ 3 when you see Oil or another resource just inside your neighbors border and it is thier only source. What do most people do? Go to war or annex the area to get the resource so that you won't be dependant on importing Oil.
The US is going to war (tradewise) and they have a set of goals to accomplish. Maybe it is the China thing I mentioned. Maybe it is not. They will want to accomplish those goals in less than 12 months. And the goals are better than the costs associated with the tariff (counter-tariffs) or else they wouldn't launch the war.
The average American seems to realise the implications of the "Axis of Evil." The media just isn't talking about it because the wounds inflicted on Sept. 11 have not healed yet. I do agree that Americans can come off as arrogant but most of it is based in thier education system and loathing or fear of the unknown or unlearned.
I still feel steel is being dumped on the US market. Just not from the EU's side. But a one sided tariff against China or Japan would really set off a trade war a little to quickly. The US preferred a foot dragging world wide tariff.
A statement can sound British if it comes across as equally arrogant as an American statement. The British notion of "Pax Brittania" (sp) or Rule Brittania (sp again) still comes out in some worls stage dealings the UK has with other countries. I am not saying it is meant to. I am saying that that is how others will percieve it. An American statement sounds arrogant when it comes across as wanting to Americanize something or America is #1 and there is no 2nd. This tends to happen in the school system. There are thousands of good places to live in the world outside the US but most Americans don't see it.
I also feel that country bashing is just stupid and childish. Canada is a great country to live in. I also know that it is not the best for everyone. It is great for me. I just accept that other countries have thier good in them and try not to feel inferior to what I think are greener pastures on the other side of the ocean.
I really don't like France or much that has to do with french. I speak french fluently. I understand a lot of the culture. But I don't like them. I don't go France bashing though. BTW I also think france and the UK suffer a mutual inferiorty complex with each other although I don't know why.
Every country has support no matter what the situation. Iraq seems to have France. The US has either the UK or Canada and Mexico. Russia has a lot of former East Bloc countries. China has Vietnam, N. Korea etc.
There, I think I've addressed all the issues.