The United States is taking the wrong approach by seeking tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and it would be "absurd" for Britain to be caught up in them, Trade Secretary Liam Fox said.
US President Donald Trump put import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent for aluminum but exempted Canada and Mexico and offered the possibility of excluding other allies. The European Union has said that it should be exempt from the tariffs.
Fox said there was overproduction of steel in the world, mainly coming from China, but that protectionism "never really works", adding that British steel was used to supply the US military.
"So it's doubly absurd that we should then be caught on an investigation on national security," Fox said on BBC's Question Time late on Thursday evening.
"We can deal multilaterally with the overproduction of steel, but this is the wrong way to go about it."
He said he would raise the issue with the United States in a trip to Washington next week.