Trump threatens to impose 25% duty on EU cars

PTI Washington | Updated on March 07, 2018

US President Donald Trump.   -  Reuters

US President Donald Trump today threatened to slap a 25 per cent tax on import of cars from Europe if the EU retaliated on its decision to impose a 25 per cent import tariff on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium. The European Union has been particularly tough on the US, Trump told reporters at a joint White House news conference with the visiting Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

The Swedish leader during his meeting with Trump had convened the message of the European Union Commission president that if the US put tariffs on steel and aluminium, they will slap back with punitive tariffs on bourbon, and jeans and the motorcycles, that he talks about from Wisconsin.

The EU, Trump rued, makes it almost impossible for the US to do business with them. And yet they send their cars and everything else back into the US, he said. “And they can do whatever they’d like, but if they do that, then we put a big tax of 25 per cent on their cars, and believe me, they won’t be doing it very long. The EU has not treated us well, and it’s been a very, very unfair trade situation,” Trump said. “I’m here to protect, and one of the reasons I was elected is I’m protecting our workers, I’m protecting our companies, and I’m not going to let that happen,” Trump asserted.

As such Trump asserted that he is going ahead with his plans to sign the executive order to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminium. “We’re doing tariffs on steel. We cannot lose our steel industry. It’s a fraction of what it once was. We can’t lose our aluminium industry; also a fraction of what it once was. And our country is doing well. The massive tax cuts, and all of the deregulation has really kicked us into gear,” he said.

“But I have to work on trade deals. We’re working on NAFTA right now, and if we’re able to make a deal with Canada and Mexico in NAFTA, then there will be no reason to do the tariffs with Canada and Mexico. But again, other countries, we won’t have that choice, unless they can do something for us,” Trump said. “As an example, if the EU takes off some of the horrible barriers that make it impossible for our product to go into there, then we can start talking. Otherwise, we’re going to leave it the way it is,” he added.

The fact is, the US has been mistreated as a country for many years, and it’s just not going to happen any longer, he said. “The US has been taken advantage of by other countries, both friendly and not so friendly for many, many decades. We have a trade deficit of USD 800 billion a year. That’s not going to happen with me,” he said. “We have been mistreated by many, sometimes fairly but there are really very few instances where that’s taken place. And I don’t blame the countries. I blame our leadership for allowing it to happen,” he said.

Lofven said it is important for them try to find a way to cooperate between the EU and the US. “I fully understand and respect the president’s view that we have to look after his own country, the country that you’re leading. I understand that fully. That’s my primary task as well,” he said.

When it comes to steel, Lofven said there is an overcapacity in the world. “That’s obvious. But at the same time, it is China that is producing about 50 per cent of the steel in the world, so -- and European Union, perhaps 10 per cent, and less than that,” he said. “So to summarise, it’s a European Union mandate, but it was a pity also that the TTIP negotiations ended, because perhaps with negotiations and talks we can come into a situation where the European Union and the United States can cooperate. I think that would be a very good solution, the Swedish Prime Minister said.

Published on March 07, 2018

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