Trump Suggests a Tariff on European Car Imports If EU Doesn’t Remove Duties

June 22, 2018 Updated: June 22, 2018

President Donald Trump threatened to levy a 20 percent tariff on cars imported from Europe if the European Union refused to take down duties imposed on American-made cars.

Trump made the announcement in a Twitter message on Friday morning.

“Based on the Tariffs and Trade Barriers long placed on the U.S. and it great companies and workers by the European Union, if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S.,” Trump wrote. “Build them here!”

Trump’s message comes two days after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that no decision has been made about tariffs on automobiles, according to CNBC.

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Minis in the ‘Body in white’ stage of manufacture pass along a robotic assembly line at the BMW Mini car production plant in Oxford, west of London, on January 17, 2017. (GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump’s message triggered a fall in share prices in Daimler, the maker of Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen. Meanwhile, shares in Ford and GM notched up.

The president brought up car tariffs earlier this month in a public tiff with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump slammed Trudeau for announcing retaliatory tariffs on the United States shortly after Trump departed the G7 meeting and pulled his signature from the G7 communique.

“Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

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US President Donald Trump (L) is greeted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (C) and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, on the first day of the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018. (GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)

The 20 percent tariff on cars is lower than the 25 percent the president threatened to levy previously. The president campaigned on a promise to place American interests first. He has frequently criticized both allies and adversaries for imposing tariffs and trade barriers on American goods.

On June 18, Trump escalated a trade battle with China, announcing that he has instructed the U.S. Trade Representative to determine a list of Chinese goods worth $200 billion on which the United States will impose a 10 percent tariff.

The president’s announcement came after China announced that it will impose dollar-for-dollar counter-tariffs in response to Trump’s prior tariff on $50 billion of Chinese goods.

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President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping arrive at a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People on Nov. 9, 2017, in Beijing, China. (Thomas Peter – Pool/Getty Images)

Late last month, Trump followed through on a threat to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. The United States now charges a 25 percent duty on steel and a 10 percent duty on aluminum imported from the EU, Mexico, and Canada.


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