Back to Normal: U.S. Auto Tariff Threats Return for EU

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
back to normal u s auto tariff threats return for eu

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump threatened to impose fresh tariffs on European automotive imports if the region can’t work out a trade deal with the United States. The good news is that the U.S. is already in the opening stages of negotiation with the United Kingdom, which is due to leave the EU at the end of January. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has even said a key benefit of Brexit is the ability to negotiate with countries like the U.S. independently.

Unfortunately, the rest of Europe doesn’t seem as eager to do business — encouraging Trump to fall back to tariff threats. But there’s clearly a retaliatory angle here. In 2018, the EU threatened punitive tariffs on traditionally American items like whiskey and motorcycles as a response to Trump’s intent to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum. He’s targeting French goods this time, mentioning 100-percent fees on imported luxury goods from France (champagne, handbags, etc.), additional levies on digital services, and a 25 percent duty on European cars.

“Ultimately it will be very easy because if we can’t make a deal, we’ll have to put 25 percent tariffs on their cars,” Trump told Fox Business‘ Maria Bartiromo this week.

Mike Manley, Fiat Chrysler CEO and current head of the European automotive lobby group ACEA, was quoted by Reuters as saying Trump ought not to be taken lightly.

“If you look at President Trump’s track record I think he is incredibly serious. If the parties involved approach those discussions in a serious manner it will be possible for an amicable conclusion to be reached,” Manley said at an industry event in Brussels. “An escalation of the tariffs is not to the benefit of anyone.”

Trump said he met with World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo to discuss the president’s frustrations with the organization during the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. “Roberto and I have a tremendous relationship, and we’re going to do something that I think will be very dramatic,” he said.

Azevêdo also spoke at the event, suggesting that the WTO should probably undergo some kind of reformation and noting that he’s already planning meetings in Washington to discuss the matter further.

As for a deal with Europe, the president said he has a deadline in mind but didn’t want to make it public until he was sure. However, he warned that it was “a fairly quick date,” adding that the U.S. had no interest in delaying an agreement.

“I met with the new head of the European Commission, who’s terrific. And I had a great talk. But I said, ‘look, if we don’t get something, I’m going to have to take action’ and the action will be very high tariffs on their cars and on other things that come into our country,” Trump told CNBC, adding that investors shouldn’t panic because the EU “has to make a deal.”

He closed his time at the World Economic Forum by commenting on teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, who also spoke at the event. Trump recommended the public “reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse … I think that some people, they’ve put it at a level that’s unrealistic, to the point that you can’t live your life.”

[Image: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock]

Join the conversation
6 of 96 comments
  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Jan 23, 2020

    Trump is a dumb con man for dumb people. His online fans and rally crowds are proof.

    • See 3 previous
    • Thornmark Thornmark on Jan 23, 2020

      @dal20402 Trump is a master persuader - just watch him this year - he will destroy his Dem opponent - and the Dems know that and have said that their political impeachment is the the only way to stop him and that has failed amazing w/ 90+% of the trained seal MSM ag/ him, Trump will prevail even if he spends one third of what the Dems spend Bloomberg can spend it all and he's going nowhere - he just went to CA and said that CA was what Americans look up to Is he nutz - half the state of CA wants to leave even though it's gorgeous - because the Dems have turned it into a third world state, with third world income stratification, crime and pestilence - how absolutely clueless is Bloomberg Bloomer went to TX w/ Judge Judy, the most popular woman on tv and got a crowd of 45! She must be disgusted w/ him for that. Just imagine 45 people.

  • Thelaine Thelaine on Jan 27, 2020

    Perhaps the best thing about Trump is that he drives leftists crazy, which clarifies where everyone really stands. For example, the mainstream press has lost its power because he exposed them as Democrats with keyboards and cameras. The leftist Deep State has also been exposed. Like him or hate him, Trump is transformative. No wonder they have been trying to destroy him since day 1.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?