French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, whom Ross was scheduled to meet in Paris on Thursday morning, said on Wednesday that the European Union did not want a trade war either but would respond if Washington imposed tariffs.
The tariffs take effect on July 1 and will last until the USA ends its move.
The United States on Friday imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico, a move that the Trump administration has justified on national security grounds. The trade partners are all expected to retaliate in what is becoming a fast-developing global trade war.
She spoke on the sidelines of Cansec, an annual arms-trade show where defence companies from around the world showcase their wares to government and military officials. The measures will cover goods beyond aluminum and steel.
Critical over the tough negotiating position of the EU by Ross, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier thought otherwise and said that the Europeans were willing to negotiate special trade arrangements, notably for liquefied natural gas and industrial goods, including cars.
President Donald Trump had announced the tariffs in March, saying they were necessary to protect the United States from unfair competition and thereby bolster national security. Hurting US manufacturers even further, the countries hit by the tariffs will also tax imported US products.
Mexico buys more steel and aluminum from the United States than it sells.
"If there is an escalation it will be because the European Union would have made a decision to retaliate", he said, adding that Washington did not want a trade war with the EU.More news: Iran Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrives in India
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A day after the United States announced the tariffs would not exempt the E.U., Canada or Mexico, the Brussels-based bloc announced that it would file a complaint with the World Trade Organization. Does anyone see the irony of using the need for a strong economy as a justification for tariffs?
The Dow Jones Index dropped 250 points on the announcement and fear is growing that similar tariffs will be announced by Russian Federation and China in coming days.
The measures, which target pork legs, apples, grapes and cheese as well as steel and other products, will be in place until the U.S. government eliminates its tariffs, Mexico's Economy Ministry said.
But the Chamber argued that Trump's agenda could undermine U.S.jobs, with the administration's plans to renegotiate the 23-year old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) appearing to stall after months of high-level meetings.
Ross himself heads to Beijing on Friday where he will attempt to get firm deals to export more U.S. goods in a bid to cut America's US$375 billion (S$502 billion) trade deficit with China.
"Americans remain our partners, friends, and allies", he said in a statement.