Published: Fri, June 22, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

Trump threatens 20 percent US tariff on EU car imports

Trump threatens 20 percent US tariff on EU car imports

The European Union is enforcing $3.4 billion United States in tariffs on USA products as of Friday in retaliation to duties the Trump administration has put on European steel and aluminum.

Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU's trade commissioner, acknowledged that the European Union had targeted some iconic American imports for tariffs, like Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon, to pressure U.S. leaders.

When the US imposed the tariffs it said it was doing so as a matter of national security - further angering its closest allies, whose tariffs are now targeting President Trump's base of support - in the steel and aluminum industries, but also in farming states, and in whiskey-producing Kentucky. "We don't want to do anything that would harm consumers", he said on Thursday.

That calculation assumes no countries would be exempted from US vehicle tariffs, including our trading partners North American Free Trade Agreement partners Canada and Mexico.

Mexico placed tariffs on American products ranging from steel to pork to bourbon two weeks ago. If this investigation finds that the "national security" of the United States is compromised by a reliance on imports, than tariffs can be imposed.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who has said the bloc would target "Harley-Davidson, bourbon and Levi's jeans", said on Thursday the U.S. decision "goes against all logic and history".

U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he sits on a truck while he welcomes truckers and CEOs to attend a meeting regarding healthcare at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2017.

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President Donald Trump has fueled trade war fears by pledging to impose tariffs of 20pc on imports of European Union cars if trade barriers are not "broken down".

The United States attacked first, imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from around the globe and threatening to hit tens of billions of dollars in Chinese products. Why would we import a vehicle when if we make more cars in the United States we create more factories, more jobs, more revenue, more taxable income?

Calling the European Union response proportionate and in line with World Trade Organisation rules, she said that they would be removed if Washington removed its metal tariffs.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, who opposes the auto tariffs, did the math for Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at a hearing this month.

One of the most frequently discussed items on the E.U.'s list is bourbon, a specialty from the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

The U.S. already taxes imports of European cars at a rate of 2.5 percent. Which means even if we are not exporting to the U.S. directly, we may as well be exporting indirectly by sending our primary products which are commodities and raw materials indirectly to the to the United States through Europe, India or China.

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