Published: Tue, July 03, 2018
Money | By Michele Stevens

EU threatens tariffs on $300B of goods if Trump escalates trade war

EU threatens tariffs on $300B of goods if Trump escalates trade war

The EU warned the Commerce Department against imposing a reciprocal 25-percent tariff on European auto imports due to its possible negative impact to U.S. GDP growth.

The European Commission, the EU executive that handles trade for the bloc, said on Monday it was trying to convince its USA counterparts that imposing such tariffs would be a mistake.

Trump said Sunday that the European Union was possibly just as bad as China, just smaller" when it came to how the bloc trades with the U.S. "Take a look at the vehicle situation: "They send a Mercedes in, we can't send our cars in", the president complained.

The European Union has claimed that Donald Trump's plans to impose higher import taxes on cars to the U.S. would harm his own country's economy.

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As well as the tariff threats, the European Commission is also believed to have warned Trump that his behaviour could "result in yet another disregard of global law" by the USA, as well as saying that any auto tariffs would "damage further the reputation" of the country. It said that vehicle imports from Europe to the USA had grown at the same pace as demand from the U.S. market, showing that they were filling a gap that domestic output could not, rather than eating into domestic sales as Trump has suggested. China is preparing to hit the US with tariffs on products worth $34 billion, and Canada is throwing duties on USA products of around $12.5 billion.

Last week, European Council President Donald Tusk warned that Trump's policies are harming trans-Atlantic relations and that "we must be ready to prepare our Union for worst-case scenarios".

While he has threatened auto tariffs, Trump has not yet followed through on them. They don't want our farm products.

The EU letter said, "In 2017, USA -based EU companies, produced close to 2.9 million automobiles, which accounted for 26 percent of total US production". Now in all fairness they have their farmers. But they treat us very badly.

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THE QUOTE: "You saw some of the more tariff-sensitive stocks a little bit weaker on the opening", said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist for TD Ameritrade.

"Combined with the other trade actions now being pursued by the U.S. Government-namely the 232 Steel and Aluminum tariffs and the Section 301 tariffs against Chinese imports-the threat of additional tariffs on automobile imports could be detrimental to our company", GM said.

The commission said "up to $294bn (£223bn) of U.S. exports. could be subject to countermeasures" that would be considered by the European Union and other trading partners, which amounts to nearly a fifth of the total value of United States exports in 2017.

The EU responded to the steel and aluminum tariffs with "rebalancing measures" that hit around $3.25 billion worth of American-made products.

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