Only two countries - Canada and Mexico - have been exempted from the new import tariff, that too till the time the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations are complete.
"You don't wanna pay tax?"
"I have a feeling we're going to make a deal on NAFTA", Trump said at the White House alongside a group of steelworkers, citing the "unique nature of our relationship with Canada and Mexico".
Other countries that present an alternative way to address the United States national-security threat of their exports may be exempt as well.
Trump said no new taxes would be placed on products made in the U.S.
"This is not a softening of our position in any way whatsoever", insisted the administration official in a call with reporters that was conducted on the condition of not being named.
He also said he expects other countries affected by Trump's protectionist trade policies to file disputes with the World Trade Organization.
"We will continue to urge the administration to narrow this policy so that it is focused only on those countries and practices that violate trade law". "It's really an assault on our country", he blasted, announcing the tariffs on the metals used in everything from cars to construction, roads to railways.
The new tariffs raise the prospect of a global trade war and have already hit stock markets hard.
A senior administration official said those exemptions, however, could come at a price to other countries. "Nobody. should express any kind of surprise".
"We have said from the outset it would be completely unacceptable for tariffs to be levied on Canada as part of a national security consideration", Freeland said. It also allowed companies to immediately write off the cost of their capital investments, which is a huge benefit to capital-intensive industries such as steel and aluminum production.
FILE - Industrial refuse is scattered across the grounds of the former Ormet aluminum plant, Hannibal, Ohio, Nov. 8, 2016.
President Donald Trump has moved ahead with steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, upsetting many of America's biggest trading partners. Barely 2% of the steel imported into the United States past year came from China, according to data from S&P Global Platts.
The tariffs rollout has been rife with confusion and dissension in the White House.
Teri Schultz, reporting for NPR from Brussels, says Malmström expects more details from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Saturday. "The China problem is simply a massive, massive overcapacity that China has built up in both aluminum and steel".
Canada was the largest U.S. source of steel a year ago, followed by Brazil, South Korea, Russia, Mexico, Japan and Germany.
"If Donald Trump puts in place the measures this evening, we have a whole arsenal at our disposal with which to respond", European Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said before Trump's announcement.
FILE - A worker drives a forklift to transport aluminum bars at a factory in Anshun, Guizhou province, China, July 1, 2013.
Trump has directed much of his harsh rhetoric on steel toward China, the world's largest exporter of the metal.
"If we don't make the deal on NAFTA, and if we terminate NAFTA ... we'll start all over again". A lot of good those warm feelings will do Boeing and Caterpillar: Both are big metal users and face competitive pressures from overseas that a trade war will only intensify.
Criticism of the Trump measures has also been voiced from within the Republican Party, but from the standpoint that tariffs and other measures should be directed towards China and not impact on United States allies. Jeff Flake, (R-Ariz.), who vowed to file a bill to nullify Trump's proclamation.
But Fast also had some praise for Trump.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday he disagreed with the decision, but he did not go so far as to suggest action to undo the tariffs.