Freeland made the announcement alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following word from the White House that the US will slap tariffs on Canadian, Mexican and European Union steel and aluminium as of midnight Thursday night.
Trump's tariffs, which will comprise 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium, will be enacted at midnight (1 June) and will hit European Union exports valued at €6.4bn in 2017, as well as Canada and Mexico, after talks failed.
The EU had "no choice" but to bring a case before the World Trade Organization and impose duties on United States imports, he added.
Mexico has also responded, promising to slap tariffs on USA products including pork bellies, grapes, apples, and flat steel.
"This is the strongest trade action Canada has taken in the post-war era", Freeland said.
Canadian and Mexican officials also threatened retaliatory responses but have as yet not indicated which USA products they will target. Everything on the list can be replaced with products made in Canada or from other countries, and the list focuses on finished products rather than items that would be used by Canadian manufacturers.
The trade official said that the tariff issue brought additional "noise" to NAFTA negotiations but added that it was significant that Mexico isn't alone in facing increased protectionism from its northern neighbor.
He said the British prime minister planned to raise the tariffs with the US president personally in Canada at a scheduled G-7 summit of the seven largest advanced economies.
Two US Guided Missile Destroyers Sail By Islands Claimed By China
China has been deploying serious military power to the region - including constructing manmade islands bristling with missiles. The move signals USA rejection of China's claims of political control in the South China Sea .
Is President Donald Trump a market menace - or a welcome disruptor?
The Mexican government called the steel and aluminum tariffs unjustified and said it will retaliate by imposing import tariffs on USA flat steel (hot and cold foil, including coated and various tubes), lamps, pork legs and shoulders, sausage and prepared foods, apples, grapes, blueberries, various cheeses and other goods.
"We must work with the United States of America to find a way out of this current scenario that preserves our economic links, and we will continue working urgently with the U.S. Administration to protect British trade, jobs and growth", says Digby.
The U.S. administration launched a national security investigation last week into auto and truck imports, using the same 1962 law that he has applied to curb incoming steel and aluminium. "But we see no sign of that in this action today by the USA administration". "It's totally unacceptable that a country is imposing unilateral measures when it comes to world trade".
"We will also impose re-balancing measures and take any necessary steps to protect the European Union market from trade diversion caused by these U.S. restrictions". Malmstrom is meeting US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Paris today among other global trade chiefs.
Tariffs might protect some jobs in the U.S. steel industry, but far fewer than the number of jobs that will be lost. "As stated time and time again, the only sustainable solution to the root cause of the issue, global overcapacity in steel production, is multilateral discussions and action through established worldwide channels". U.S. Steel climbed 3%.
It prompted threats of retaliation from the European Union on United States products before the policy was abandoned.