European Union counter-tariffs against USA come into effect on Friday - commission

US President Donald Trump speaks with the press | Mandel Ngan  AFP via Getty Images

The European Union on Friday will slap billions in additional tariffs on US exports in reaction to President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations MORE's steel and aluminum tariffs.

The European Union will begin charging import duties of 25 percent on a range of USA products on Friday, in response to U.S tariffs imposed on EU steel and aluminum early this month, the European Commission said on Wednesday. "However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the United States to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice", EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said. The products affected will include cigarettes, denim, peanut butter, orange juice, blue jeans, bourbon, and motorcycles.

Ms Malmstrom said: "We did not want to be in this position".

There is also a notable addition at the end of the long list of products - a 10% tariff on playing cards.

Canada has announced it will impose retaliatory tariffs on C16.6 billion ($12.5 billion) worth of USA exports from July 1.

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"Our response is measured, proportionate and fully in line with WTO rules".

What tariffs is the European Union imposing?

Brussels first drew up the list in March when US President Donald Trump initially floated the idea of 25 percent tariffs on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminium.

Mr Trump's tariffs also target neighbouring Canada and Mexico, with Canada imposing its own retaliatory tariffs on £9.5bn ($12.5bn) worth of American exports from July 1.

The trade battles have raised the spectre of an escalating global trade war, spooking financial markets that fear major consequences to the world economy.

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