By on February 20, 2019

Earlier this week, the European Union warned that if the United States imposes any new tariffs on European-built vehicles, it can expect similar levies on American products. However, armed with the Commerce Department’s confidential report on automotive imports, President Donald Trump doesn’t appear remotely interested in backing down.

While Trump previously agreed not to impose additional duties on European cars, the arrangement hinged upon the two coming together on trade. Unfortunately, while both sides seem eager to work out a deal, they can’t quite manage to keep the constant threats down to a dull roar. 

Speaking to reporters at a White House meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the U.S. president maintained that automotive tariffs are still something his administration plans to use as a bargaining chip. “We’re trying to make a deal. They’re very tough to make a deal with — the EU,” Trump reportedly told Reuters. “If we don’t make the deal, we’ll do the tariffs.”

Many have suggested this was always the president’s plan, with frequent claims he was only waiting for the Commerce Department’s report to move forward. While the contents of those documents are unknown to the public, it was widely assumed the department would designate foreign imports as a national security threat on economic grounds.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who is among the few individuals who can boast of kissing an acting U.S. president inside the Oval Office, expressed concerns over Trump’s protectionist trade policies this week. But he also reiterated to the media that there remains a verbal agreement in place to explore a new trade deal before any formal decisions are made regarding tariffs.

Trump didn’t speak to whether or not the confidential report advocated for tariffs, but his position on the matter doesn’t appear to have softened since reading it. “We’ve studied it very carefully. We’ve seen the results. But the bottom-line result is whether or not we can make a deal with the EU that’s fair,” he said.

[Image: The White House]

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52 Comments on “Trump to EU: Expect Auto Tariffs Without Trade Deal...”


  • avatar
    jatz

    They don’t call it EU for no reason. We’re going to see more guy-on-guy face sucking in American media as we become more like them.

    (Looking at you, Star Trek Discovery)

    Eeewwww

  • avatar
    Robbie

    We have to assume that if tariffs are imposed, the next president will undo them right away. That statement assumes that sanity prevails and no Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders type person wins the elections.

    • 0 avatar
      zerofoo

      “sanity prevails”

      What makes you think the US electorate is interested in a middle of the road candidate?

      I predict we will see another 50 “Trumps” and another 50 “AOC/Sanders” types elected to congress in the next few years.

      • 0 avatar
        Robbie

        @zerofoo: sadly, you may be right. Maybe America does not want a middle of the road candidate who is a man or woman of honor, wants to grow our economy with trade, runs a competent administration with experts instead of ideologues, preserves America’s influence in the world, gives us a sane science-based balances between pollution and economy and between gun ownership and safety, and opposes fiscal insanity from both left and right. But in my opinion, those things are what America needs.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      It would be better that tariffs are not imposed and that the trading partners see the error of their previous ways and correct them to effect fair and equitable trades, without tariffs, either way.

      Ever since the end of WWII the US has been taking in exports from other countries while those same countries barred or placed tariffs on American-made goods.

      Now America’s got a guy in the White House who’s willing to kick @ss and take names.

      That’s a good thing! For Americans.

      • 0 avatar
        vehic1

        Well – we’ve got a multiple-bankruptee, who is an @ss. If that qualifies him in any way as a “great businessman”, most people aren’t impressed.

      • 0 avatar
        vehic1

        Well – we’ve got a multiple-bankruptee, who is an @ss. If that qualifies him in any way as a “great businessman”, most people aren’t impressed.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Well, he’s got the Japanese worried.

          I ran across this article on my RSS feed:

          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-japan-auto/japan-auto-lobby-hopes-trump-makes-appropriate-decision-on-trade-idUSKCN1QA08F

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          And today, there’s this

          https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-21/toyota-president-to-trump-be-careful-on-auto-probe-decision

          “Trump must be doing something right,” is right!

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        Highdesertcat

        Europe was leveled during WWII, and in no position to be a major exporter. We didn’t start running major trade deficits until RRII. (Ronald Reagan’s Second term)

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          You are right. This is true. But until RRII the US was a sponge for anything and everything that Europe could and would export, all in the name of rebuilding the devastated countries of Europe and the nation of Japan.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Bottom line, trump is a pos. He is destroying relationships around the world when it comes to trade.

    • 0 avatar
      zerofoo

      Yeah, China is so pissed at Trump that they are vowing to buy more of our exports:

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-31/mnuchin-lighthizer-to-travel-to-china-after-trade-talk-progress

      We won’t know the impact of much of these trade negotiations for many years.

      Many Japanese companies are starting to shift production to the US specifically to avoid tariffs:

      https://www.voanews.com/a/manufacturers-shift-work-from-china-to-avoid-tariffs/4583416.html

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The scary thing for the lefty-libbies is that Trump will be re-elected. And if he is re-elected, it’s Katie-bar-the-door because that’s when the sch!t will really hit the fan.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        HDC,
        I think that President Trump and the RNC will run a better campaign than the Democratic candidate and the DNC. That will lead to Trump’s reelection. Never mind that you can walk between both headquarters.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          el scotto, I hope you are right. But remember all the shenanigans perpetrated by the ‘crats and lefty-libbies in 2016 that led to the current witch hunt and revealed that there was an attempted coup to remove a duly elected President from office by the deep state.

          I hope President Trump gets re-elected because I sure hate for MY good times to end.

          I’ll be 73 in a couple of months and I’m having the time of my life!

          I like what the economy is doing, I love the trend in the stock market, I’m tickled pink about the price of gas and that the US is now an energy-exporter, etc etc etc.

          All is well in my land of the free and home of the brave.

    • 0 avatar

      Compared to AOC and Sanders Trump is a middle of the road traditional candidate. I wait to see what nickname Trump will give AOC. It will be a fun, prepare popcorn – you will need it in 2020. American presidential elections become a Comedy Central. What a characters!

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Agreed Juncker is a pos. Trump must be doing something right since all the right people oppose him.

    hillary took so many bribes she never could tell what she owed to whom by the time her esteem dotage set in about 5 years ago, some time after she caused the Africa to Europe migration crisis.

    Europe hates hillary for that. Muammar Gaddafi was the cork that kept the migrants in Africa and hillary removed the cork.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “Trump must be doing something right”

      All politics is local in the sense of “how is the guy in the White House doing for you?” Like his policies, the economy, the stock market, the direction of the country, etc etc.

      Everyone needs to ask the question, “are you better off with Trump, or were you better off with the last guy in office?”

      I didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 but, by God, I’ll vote for him in 2020 IF he decides to run again. He’s done that well by me and mine!

  • avatar

    EU flexing muscles against English speaking countries. I expect EU to declare English language illegal post Brexit. They will switch to French.

    Good thing that EU does not have viable army and cannot invade England in which case US would be involved as usual in European squabble.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    EU won’t negotiate because they see proof Trump can’t be trusted. Canada was called a threat to national security, tariffs were placed on steel and aluminum, supposedly for negotiating purposes. A deal gets agreed and the tariffs were not removed. The EU sees this, everybody sees this.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Everything you listed is true. But that was just for openers. Openers for Trump’s first term in office.

      If Trump gets re-elected, I’m confident he will change the world in his image.

      Hell, he already has changed the world in just 25 months, and that’s not counting the changes that took place immediately after election day in 2016.

      It sure beats the hell out of ALL his predecessors, except Reagan. At the rate he is going, Trump will be even more effective than Reagan was in changing America and the world.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      About 86 per cent of Chinese aluminum imports now enter the U.S. tariff-free, while less than one per cent of Canadian aluminum shipments do.

      40% of steel imports from China have been exempted from the tariff and only 2% of the imports from Canada.

      So much for punishing the Chinese.

  • avatar
    Lefty54

    Trump and the GOP has added 2 TRILLION dollars to the national debt. We are now $21.7 trillion in debt. In 2016 candidate Trump promised to eliminate the national debt in 8 years. And the funny thing is- people believed him! What a joke.

    Remember when republicans were against the national debt? Like the 8 years Obama was in office. Back then all the republicans and Trump were against debt.

  • avatar

    See what happens if the same import tariffs (zero to five percent?) are upheld on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite European imports being more pricey, Americans will buy them more than Europeans will buy American cars. Why? American cars are way behind in fuel economy and branding, fit and finish. Trump knows that. That’s why he is not interested in a level playing field. French PSA has turnaround former GM Opel in no time. Should say enough.

  • avatar
    James Charles

    After a quick read of the comments this site must be owned by Fox. No way can a site manage such a high proportion of right wing opinions without bias from the editorial staff and management.

    There appears to be little correction made when totally false comments are made. I’m not talking opinion, but factual inaccuracies abound.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      Horsefeathers. This place is a hive of hippies. I never feel alone here.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        One must wonder what he considers right wing. This is a nasty glance at the hive mind that results from living in an environment where free speech has been crushed.

        • 0 avatar
          James Charles

          Todd,
          Most articles are not much more than cut and pasted. There is no correction when false comments are made. The journalist should address some of the comments. The site is titled The Truth About Cars. I have yet to witness much truth delivered.

          Do the journalists and editing staff at TTAC have a good comprehension of the vehicle market.

          It’s ridiculous to assume other markets should change so US vehicles become attractive. Why does the US not produce attractive products that are profitable for export?

          How does this site contribute positively? If you were an auto exec what could you gain from this site?

          Maybe better quality articles with some research to stimulate transparent and open discussion would help. When a commenter is called out, give them an opportunity to justify their comment with credible verification supporting their case.

          So much bs with little truth.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            How long have you been speaking for all Europeans? So if they’re not for sale in Europe, it must be ’cause they’re not “attractive”?

            When the Mustang first officially went for sale in Europe, that’s the moment they first became “attractive”?

            Except what’s most “attractive” just might be what’s most feasible, and not necessarily what you would buy if car taxes and fuel prices were sensible. But at that point, would not Europe’s best sellers suddenly become much less attractive?

            Can you say “protectionism”?

          • 0 avatar
            James Charles

            Denver,
            Ford, not the Europeans stopped the Mustang. Ford PRODUCED a Mustang that was more attractive for the EU consumer, eg, the 2.3 EcoBoost.

            Even then the Mustang is still a niche product in the EU.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            So according to you, very high EU taxes/tariffs don’t highly influence what’s “attractive”, what’s available, and virtually ban what doesn’t conform, or limit them to extremely niche?

            The current Mustang platform was obviously designed with Europe in mind, but what do you think it would resemble if Ford focused on “attracting” mainstream EU buyers? Would it have much in common with the Mustang we know now?

            Why even call it “Mustang” at that point?

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          Looking at the comments in this piece is a nasty glance at the hive mind. Free speech? What kind of free speech do you think there is at a Trump rally? Or in the White House?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            What kind of free speech is there at a political rally? Do you think there is some difference between a Trump rally and any other candidates’ rallies? There are reasons that people talk about Trump Derangement Syndrome. It isn’t conservative who have to fake hate crimes to reinforce brainwashing.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Trump. Nobel prize.

    (Settles in with a big bowl of popcorn)

  • avatar
    hpycamper

    Trade problems do need to be straightened out and tariffs might help accomplish that. Just wish it wasn’t such a political circus.

  • avatar
    James Charles

    Highest rating,
    I do respect your rights in politics and religion, but I don’t agree with your approach.

    Trump IS disruptive as opposed to productive. Yes, Trump has many worried, but for ALL the wrong reasons. Don’t confuse this with successful collaboration.

    Trump destroys viable business and political ties. This can’t be good in the longer term for the US.

    • 0 avatar
      James Charles

      Again, auto correct. Highdesertcat should be the addressee above.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Turn off your autocorrect in Settings if it gives you trouble. I did, on both my iPad Air and my Windows Browsers (Firefox, Opera, and Chrome)

        A President and Administration are judged by how effective they are for individual Americans, and America as a nation. Trump has done better than anyone since Reagan.

        I didn’t vote for Trump but I’m sure glad he got elected because of what his policies have done for me and mine, and America as a nation.

        If Trump decides to run again, and I hope he does even though he doesn’t need this job, I will vote for him.

        I’m an Independent, so I am guilty of voting for the most qualified candidate just about every time, regardless of political party.

        All the anti-Trumpers and ne’er-Trumpers better hope he doesn’t get re-elected because based on his first term so far, Trump will rebuild, redesign, redecorate, and refurbish the world and all its relationships with America in his own lasting image.

        Just look at the Courts and Supreme Court appointments. Talk about right-winger dreams. This is even better than dreaming. It is done!

        The right is rejoicing in that God was on their side when Trump got elected in 2016.

        I’m just happy that the stockmarket passed 26K again which means we should get a forced payout on the annuity in a couple of weeks. As in Buy Low, Sell High.

        I give credit where credit is due, regardless of political party. Trump’s policies have helped millions of Americans.


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