The EU's top trade official Cecilia Malmstroem and Japanese Economy Minister Hiroshige Seko began preliminary talks in Brussels ahead of the sitdown with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Malmstroem said the real cause of the problem is an oversupply on global markets, and she rejected Trump's assertion that the tariffs are needed to protect US national security, especially when most European Union countries are members of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
European Commissioner Malmstrom, who coordinates policy for the 28-nation EU, the world's biggest trading bloc, said she stood ready to go to the WTO, the global trade arbiter, to impose the bloc's own safeguards within 90 days.
Japan's trade minister sought an exemption from United States import tariffs on steel and aluminium on Saturday (March 10) and called for "calm-headed behaviour" in a dispute that threatens to spiral into a trade war.
Mr Trump justified his move by invoking a rarely used U.S. law authorising presidential action against imports that undermine national security.
He also praised the EU Commission earlier announcement that it will respond immediately.
Lighthizer, a loyalist to Trump's "America First" mantra, made no official comment after the talks, but the three sides did agree on a series of next steps to address the oversupply worldwide of steel and other materials, mainly by China.
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She predicted a "long day" of talks on Saturday, while European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen sought to play down expectations, saying it was "a meeting, not THE meeting".
"Certain types of bourbon are on the list as are other items such as peanut butter, cranberries, orange juice", Malmstroem said. However, it took on more urgency after Trump's tariff move.
Mr Eggert then demanded European Union instate protective measures for the industry, adding: "We cannot stand by and watch the U.S. light a match under the global trading system".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that "no one can win in such a race to the bottom" while French President Emmanuel Macron said Trump risked provoking a mutually destructive "trade war". He also added Australia to the list of likely carve-outs.
Complicating matters, Trump indicated on Friday that Australia's carveout was linked to an unspecified "security agreement" outside of trade policy.
The European steel association Eurofer in Brussels today warned the US President's new import tariffs were "harmful and counterproductive" and could lead to the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in Europe.
Brussels is also looking at "safeguard" measures to protect its industry - restricting the bloc's imports of steel and aluminium to stop foreign supplies flooding the European market, which is allowed under World Trade Organization rules.