The EU has “closed the door” on trade talks with the US after the White House hit the continent with tariffs on steel and aluminium, Brussels’ top trade official has warned.

Cecilia Malmstrom, EU trade commissioner, said Europe would no longer continue with talks over liberalising parts of EU-US trade after negotiations over getting a permanent exemption from steel tariffs failed.

“We are not going to enter into any negotiations”, said Ms Malmström.

The EU has said it will hit back with its own “countermeasures” on €2.8bn of US products like Bourbon and Harley-Davidson motorbikes in response to Donald Trump’s actions. Ms Malmström said the tariffs would be “measured” and “proportionate”.

European officials fear the Trump administration could widen its duties to include the continent’s prized car sector. Ms Malmström said the EU was following the debate on automobiles with “anxiety”. Mr Trump has ordered a trade investigation into car imports into the US.

“When they say American first, we say Europe united”, said Ms Malmström. “We are not in a trade war but in a very difficult situation caused by the US”.

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