Trump threatens more tariffs on European Union imports

Trump threatens more tariffs on European Union imports

Trump threatens more tariffs on European Union imports

The escalating economic conflict with the European Union is proving risky for American vehicle companies.

The European Union started enforcing tariffs Friday on American imports like bourbon, peanut butter, and orange juice, as part of a growing global trade rift that's likely to intensify over the next few weeks.

Tariffs on vehicle imports would add to an array of trade wars Trump has started, saying he aims to create and protect domestic industries. It's reported that Trump said the tax would be upheld until Fifth Avenue was devoid of Mercedes models.

Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on European Union steel and 10 percent on aluminum on June 1. Industry data shows that German automakers build more vehicles in southern USA states that voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election than they ship to the United States from Germany.

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German automakers Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen all have plants in southern states and directly employ more than 20,000 U.S. workers between them, primarily at those factories. Under the US's Trade Expansion Act of 1962, such a scenario could allow Trump to raise import tariffs to protect national interests.

Although China is the world's largest new auto market, with 23.9 million vehicles sold there a year ago, the USA remains a core focus for most global brands.

German automakers did not comment on Trump's tweet. A group representing major U.S. and foreign vehicle makers has said it was "confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk". Automotive News data shows about 7.2 percent of vehicles sold in the United States through May were assembled in Europe.

Politico reported that the German auto industry has been open to reducing tariffs, but only if it ended up being part of a larger trade negotiation between the USA and the EU. He told automakers at a White House meeting in May that he was planning tariffs on some imported vehicles.

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Last month, Trump instructed his Commerce Department to begin a national security investigation that would provide the legal underpinning for new tariffs on cars.

The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups.

Effective from today (22 June), the tariffs on United States goods include a 25% increase on American whiskey and Bourbon.

The United States in 2017 accounted for about 15 percent of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. Volkswagen imports all of its luxury brands - Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Bugatti.

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