Published: Sat, June 23, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Trump threatens 20 percent USA tariff on European Union vehicle imports

Trump threatens 20 percent USA tariff on European Union vehicle imports

"Build them here!" he declared.

Daimler earlier this week warned that it expects lower sales of Mercedes-Benz cars due to a tax on the import of U.S. vehicles into China.

A month ago, the administration launched a probe into whether auto imports pose a national security threat.

He has raged in public and private against trade imbalance, particularly with Germany, as it relates to auto imports. Additionally, the move could hurt thousands of auto industry workers.

At 11:25 a.m. ET, Trump tweeted that if the European Union didn't break down "trade barriers", the United States would be slapping a 20 percent tariff "on all their cars coming into the U.S". "And, if they do, the tax is massive", he said during a campaign rally in Duluth on Wednesday. By the way, you're not going to sell us any.' Not going to work that way anymore, folks.

The U.S. Commerce Department aims to wrap up its investigation into whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to national security by late July or August, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.

FILE PHOTO - Parked cars are pictures at the vehicle terminal at the port of Valencia, Spain May 29, 2018.

"Having ordered an investigation into whether auto imports are a national security threat, he has now undercut that by reaching his conclusion before the investigation has barely begun", Reinsch said.

Another one of Trump's Friday morning tweets was directed at Mexico, and he took on a much friendlier tone than usual when discussing the NAFTA partner's trade and immigration policies.

Meanwhile, US-China tit-for-tat tariff hikes threaten to escalate into a full-blown trade war, with Beijing saying it would place its own additional tariffs on 659 US imports worth $50 billion after Washington slapped punitive tariffs on Chinese goods. "And then, the European Union will hopefully act as united again as it has done now". "However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the United States to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union means that we are left with no other choice", she said.

European countries have been bracing for this 20% tariff, according to two European officials.

While she didn't see a serious "direct impact of tariff's a trend that is worrying, the breach of confidence that undermines confidence", she said on the sidelines of eurozone minister talks in Luxembourg. Beijing has vowed to immediately retaliate with its own tariffs on USA soybeans and other farm products.

Automakers' stocks took a hit following Friday's news, with Ford and General Motors selling off sharply.

BMW's plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, builds X-series sport utility vehicles while the Mercedes plant near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, builds GLE and GLS utility vehicles and the C-Class sedan. A group representing major USA and foreign automakers has said it is "confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk".

Transatlantic ties are at their lowest level for many years due to rows over a host of issues including the tariffs, the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear deal and the new USA embassy in Jerusalem.

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