The White House said Tuesday that it expected to wrap up trade talks with the European Union, Canada and Mexico within the 30 extra days of freedom from tariffs that President Donald Trump granted the previous day.
"Hopefully, we can get something that works for everybody," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
Trump extended tariff exemptions on aluminum and steel exports from the EU, Canada and Mexico late Monday, just hours before they were to run out.
These are the same tariffs the U.S. has already imposed on China, Japan, Russia and other exporters.
The U.S. has finalized a deal on steel exports with South Korea, granting it a permanent exemption, while reaching agreements in principle with Argentina, Australia and Brazil. The White House said it was giving negotiators 30 more days to work out similar deals with the EU, Canada and Mexico.
"We're having some potentially fruitful discussions about an overall reduction in trade tensions," U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC television Tuesday. "I don't think we have any intention to grant protracted extensions. That defeats the whole purpose."
Opposition to 'threat'
The European Commission criticized the new 30-day extension Tuesday, saying the EU "will not negotiate under threat."
"The U.S. decision prolongs market uncertainty, which is already affecting business decisions," it said. "The EU should be fully and permanently exempted from these measures, as they cannot be justified on the grounds of national security."
Trump has called the tariffs a national security issue because overproduction by some countries makes U.S. exports more expensive and undesirable on the global markets.
In March, Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports on China, Russia, Japan and other exporters for what he said was a remedy for unfair competition.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is part of a senior delegation heading to China this week for trade talks.
Lighthizer told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that he would like to see China integrate more foreign competition into its economy.
"It's not my objective to change the Chinese system. ... It seems to work for them. That's fine. ... I have to be in a position where the United States can deal with it, where the United States isn't a victim of it. And that's where our role is," Lighthizer said.