Trump repeats threat to impose auto tariffs
20 July 2018
US President Donald Trump has repeated his threat to impose tariffs on auto imports despite opposition from the industry and criticism of his proposed measures from within Congress.
The threat was issued at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Trump threatened “tremendous retribution” against the European Union, singling out auto tariffs, if negotiations on trade did not bring about concessions.
Trump is scheduled to meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the White House next Wednesday in the midst of an investigation by the Commerce Department into auto imports to examine whether they impact on US “national security” under a provision of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act.
The results of the investigation could be the imposition of tariffs of up to 25 percent. Such measures would not only deal a major blow to European producers, especially German companies, but would also heavily impact on Japanese firms, with Toyota the most affected.
German car makers have said they would not be able to sell at a profit in the US market if the tariffs go ahead. Toyota has stated the cost of the popular Camry model could increase by as much as $1,800.
The EU has previously said it is prepared to negotiate with the US. But it has insisted such discussions should take place within the framework of the rules-based system of the World Trade Organisation and not through unilateral actions which put a gun at its head.
However, that is precisely the stance taken by Trump. “If we don’t negotiate something fair, then we have tremendous retribution, which we don’t want to use” he said, adding “including cars, cars is the big one.”
If the auto tariffs go ahead, they would be the largest trade…