Trump escalates trade war, threatens European carmakers with stiff tariffs
President Trump on Saturday threatened to hammer European automotive companies with steep tariffs as his global trade war snowballed into a third day.
Trump, in a series of Twitter posts while at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, appeared to be responding to warnings from European leaders that his promised tariffs on aluminum and steel would trigger retaliation from numerous major U.S. trading partners.
Bring it on, Trump wrote.
If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S. They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!
The U.S. imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on the import of foreign cars and a 25 percent tariff on the import of foreign trucks and commercial vans. The European Union charges a 10 percent tariff on the import of cars.
On Thursday, Trump shocked the world — and many of his top advisers — with an off-the-cuff announcement that the United States would impose a tariff of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports. Canada’s leadership said they would retaliate with tariffs on U.S. exports. European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said his bloc planned to hit back at the U.S. by imposing tariffs on targeting Kentucky bourbon, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and Levi’s blue jeans.
On Friday, Trump wrote in another Twitter post that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” He also promised to enact what he called “RECIPROCAL TAXES” on any country that has a tariff against any U.S. good or service.
One of Trump’s top advisers, Peter Navarro, also holds the view that German automakers have stolen market share in the United States by importing cars but limiting the amount of U.S. cars sold into their country, two people involved in White House deliberations said. Navarro’s stature within the White House has grown in recent weeks as Trump has turned towards advisers with protectionist views as he became frustrated that his trade agenda was floundering.