Trump is Talking Tariffs Again, Takes Aim at European Cars

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
trump is talking tariffs again takes aim at european cars

President Donald Trump amplified his earlier threat of a global trade war this weekend by suggesting he would impose a tax on European cars if the EU countered his proposed steel and aluminum tariffs. On Thursday, Trump called for a 25 precent import tariff for steel and a 10 percent fee on aluminum in the hopes it would bolster those industries domestically. Europe responded by threatening a tax on imported bourbon, blue jeans, and American motorcycles. Apple pie and baseball were not mentioned, but you get the idea.

European Union officials clearly wanted to send a message to the president to back down. Instead, he came back even harder in a tweet from Saturday. “If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S.,” he wrote. “They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!”

The United States currently imports over 1.2 million European cars from Europe, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. The overwhelming majority of these vehicles from from German automakers under BMW Group, Volkswagen Group, and Daimler. Trump advisor Peter Navarro has repeatedly brought up the $65 billion U.S. trade deficit with Germany and has accused the country of unfair automotive deals, supplier control, and using the European Union as a cover not to negotiate.

“I think that it would be useful to have candid discussions with Germany about ways that we could possibly get that deficit reduced outside the boundaries and restrictions that they claim that they are under,” Navarro told the National Association for Business Economics roughly a year ago.

Presently, the United States imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on the import of all foreign cars and a 25 percent tariff on the import of foreign trucks or vans. Meanwhile, the E.U. has a flat 10 percent tax on all vehicles imported from the U.S.

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  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Mar 05, 2018

    Steel and aluminum tariffs will negatively impact domestic manufacturers who import said steel and aluminum to build things here, in America. It will encourage them to outsource that production to whatever nation has the cheapest steel and aluminum so that they can reduce both the material costs and the transportation costs. And any additional costs will be passed on to us, the consumer.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Mar 06, 2018

    As others have said, tariffs on imported steel and aluminum will drive manufacturing out of the US unless comparable tariffs are charged against imported products made of steel and/or aluminum. The automotive thing between the US and Europe should be comparable. If the EU charges 10% on an imported vehicle the the US should charge 10% on an imported EU made vehicle. 10% going in one direction and 2.5% coming in the other direction is not fair or reasonable. The US and EU have similar environmental and labor regulations, so that aspect is roughly fair.

    • See 2 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Mar 06, 2018

      @BAFO - It really is that simple. We're getting boned by Europe as usual. The only question is, should we keep taking it. And oops once again you forgot to mention Europe's 22% chicken tax on US Vans and pickups. USA CAFE/CARB/NHTSA/etc were set up from scratch simply to improve the lives/health/safety of Americans and for no other reason. Same as "Lemon Laws". No direct ill intentions towards imports. Hey what's up Mahindra? However, Europe came up with their own similar regulations after the fact, except their's have the added intention of protecting their domestic automakers by differing just enough, and obviously pushing, basically pimping diesel engines on the public, but that's another story. But it is comical how EU automotive regulations zig everywhere US regs "zag". It's a devious plan, and even if it inadvertently shoots EU automakers in the foot when it comes to exporting their vehicles, it makes them way more cash on the front side, billions more likely. And the US get automatic access to the best or most popular autos the EU has to offer, for what EU consumers pay or less. It sounds like a lopsided "deal" if I've ever heard one! Aside from US automakers, including Subaru/Mazda/Toyota/etc, really European consumers are getting screwed the most, whether they realize it or not. Maybe we should keep that little fact between us... Ouch!!!

  • Arthur Dailey Calling Frank Sheeran. Such a shame to see that car, which it appears was well maintained right to the end, being relegated to the crusher. Compared to what you get for $50k today, that Lincoln was not such a bad deal. As mentioned a phenomenal highway cruiser with some of the most comfortable seats every installed in a car.
  • ToolGuy Nice car. Does this company still make sedans?
  • Jimbo1126 I just looked at the Hyundai website and it appears the SE SR trim has gone away. The SE is now the base trim at $45,500.
  • Jimbo1126 Even my mother, certainly no big car fan, commented that the Mark Vi was the ugliest car she'd ever seen.38,391 in 1980 to 38,398 in 1981 is an increase of 7. :)
  • Kwik_Shift Important consideration when choosing your next vehicle. Its not only your own death, or of your passengers, but the possible lifetime of crippling injuries.