By on November 10, 2020

german flag and reichstag

Germany is eager to see the United States abolish trade barriers implemented by President Donald Trump now that it looks like Joe Biden has won the 2020 election. While that could all be undone by the sudden influx of legal actions taken by the Trump campaign as presumptive evidence of election impropriety streams in, Germany would still like to get the ball rolling on trade with the Democrats.

The nation’s automotive industry is petitioning leadership in the U.S. and European Union to align technical/regulatory standards and minimize the existing trade barriers. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (Verband der Automobilindustrie) or VDA has already endorsed the proposal with the lobby group’s president confirming its position in a recent webcast hosted by the Frankfurt business media club ICFW (Internationale Club Frankfurter Wirtschaftsjournalisten).

VDA President Hildegard Müller (who sits on the board of 9 industrial firms) supports both sides abolishing tariffs entirely and believes Biden might be receptive toward reverting trade policies back to how they were before 2016. Considering that the Biden administration has already made announcements that it would immediately overturn numerous executive orders introduced by Trump, it certainly seems possible.

According to Bloomberg, Müller also hinted that Europe would likely need to make changes in order to give the U.S. a fair shake  though it was unclear what that would entail beyond nixing the aforementioned tariffs.

Trump has been extremely critical of Europe  and Germany in particular  for failing to push back against Chinese trade rules he claimed were broadly unfair to the West. He has also been harsh on German imports suggesting he might begin issuing automotive tariffs if economic parity wasn’t achieved in Europe. In response, German automakers promised increased investments into facilities based in the United States. Meanwhile, Germany itself is confronting serious difficulties due to the nation’s extremely high energy and labor costs. VDA said this issue was made worse by German bureaucracy and oversight from the regulation heavy European Commission.

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48 Comments on “German Auto Lobby Wants Biden to Eliminate U.S. Trade Restrictions...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Cool. I expect a press release from the UAW/Unifor expressing support for Mr Biden and the Democrats to undo everything Trump did related to trade protections.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Gotta love Europeans…”Hey, dumb Americans, eliminate those minute restrictions you have on our cars…we’ll still continue to tax yours at 40% or subtly keep them out of our markets by taxing heavily anything above 2.0 liters, but that’s OK…”

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Try 10% and no displacement-tax EU tariff. Now ask yourself what part of the US domestic field of giant-size plonkers they’s want in the EU. Ford tried the Edge, that was a winnah, and the rest of the US crossover fleet offers nothing the Euros can’t get equal or better.

      Ranting and raving and claiming to be the victim by using incorrect facts is a Trump tactic. It’s horse manure of the lowest order.

      When the US produces exciting vehicles like Tesla, they have no problem buying them over in Europe. So much so in fact, Dear Elon is building a factory in Germany. Perhaps you hadn’t heard?

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I’m lamenting the loss of those giant plonkers of yesteryear. They don’t make fullsized sedans anymore because they don’t sell. Even midsize aren’t selling. The American market is awash with subcompact and compact wagons, er, CUVs that would fit nicely on any European road.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Many EU nations have displacement taxes so I’m not sure what you are going on about. The initial comment didn’t claim that there was a special “displacement tariff” just that the tax structure in many European countries helps to make certain American branded vehicles unattractive in those places.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          It’s the Euro automakers that lobby for EU regulations/tactics/tariffs/fuel taxes, etc, that protect their home markets.

          EU regs demand extensive proof/docs that import vehicles meet their standards, while the US/Customs just has the honor system. That’s how VW got away with murder for so long.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Do you think they’ll drop the 10% tax/tariff in exchange for Biden’s generosity?

    • 0 avatar
      Mike Beranek

      No one in Europe wants an American car.
      Come to think of it, America doesn’t actually build many cars, does it?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Perhaps their tastes are in their A$$? There’s also lots of US market Toyota, Nissan and Honda vehicles that Europeans “don’t like”.

        The “American market only” vehicles that break through the EU bullsh!t bureaucracy and taxes are sports/specialty cars, since there’s no reason and would make zero sense pushing anything through that’s redundant to what’s already for sale there.

        The strong EU “grey market” for newer US market vehicles including pickups indicates their potential with an even playing field, even with sky high EU fuel prices.

        • 0 avatar
          epc

          Denigrating Europeans’ (i.e., your potential customers’) auto taste does nothing for selling your cars there. Whatever happened to “giving what your customer wants?”

          US-manufactured (including Japanese transplants) automobiles are too big for European roads, or too inefficient given their fuel prices. This isn’t hard to comprehend. Like another poster pointed out, Europeans can’t buy enough Teslas.

          Another point about transplants. When VW decided to sell a new Passat in the US, they went through the expense of developing a new model just for the US. It’s bigger, cheaper, and less efficient than the European Passat.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The point is there’s a lot more to it than “tastes” in a market that dramatically manipulates and limits choices through taxes, regulations and technical barriers.

            It’s a laugh that EU automakers want to save a few euros by regulation parity, while most US/transplant automakers can’t make any headway into the EU market.

  • avatar
    hpycamper

    There were non tariff barriers to American vehicles that would need to be changed to make things even, and I doubt that will actually happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Yes there are: lights, turn signals, other Euro-spec issues that make converting a car expensive in either direction, and especially differences in emissions levels and measurement, plus metric conversion issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The German auto industry has been making money hand over fist in China. Might they be getting nervous about their Chinese “partners” taking over and cutting out the foreigners? Or could they be concerned they might not be able to get their money out of China at some point? The CCP has a degree of control over China’s national economy no western government has over theirs.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “align technical/regulatory standards and minimize the existing trade barriers”

    The biggest trade barriers are different safety and emissions standards. In some cases that is equivalent to a 25% tariff for companies having to meet multiple standards.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The differences are minuscule. Otherwise cheap Fiat cars couldn’t have landed here. If they can do it…

      Amber rear turn-signals don’t need to be changed (coming to the US) but even Fiat converts them to red for the cleaner look.

      Which exact US technical barriers, ban which specific (missing) vehicles?

    • 0 avatar
      Varezhka

      It would be nice if US can at least align the safety standards to the UN regulations.
      Canada at least is moving towards recognizing the UN regulations in addition to CMVSS.

      Of course, GM is pretty much gone from most of the UN/ECE 1958 agreement countries apart from handful of Corvettes and the Ford lineup for North America and the rest of the world is mostly separate now. I’m guessing the Detroit Two will want to keep every little bit of the non-tariff barriers that they can.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The 1958 agreement had zero to do with safety standards or emissions. The US NHTSA/DOT/EPA/CAFE/etc pioneered those. The ground work was done and all that EU regulators needed to do follow along. They even delayed implementing safety and emissions standards as long as they could.

        Catalyst converters weren’t even required in the EU until 1993. Airbags and cats still aren’t required in the EU on limited edition, specialty cars.

        But the point is when they did finally get around to it, EU regulators made sure to differ their standards just enough to screw with potential imports, basically zigging everywhere US regs zag.

    • 0 avatar
      Sid SB

      Agreed, free trade is not just taxes. Harmonized safety and emission regulations would help the OEMs a lot. Imagine being able to get an Alpine A110 is the US and Brits getting their hands on GT350s (Ford thought the Brits would want the 4 pots, definitely under estimated the petrol heads).

    • 0 avatar
      Sid SB

      Agreed, free trade is not just taxes. Harmonized safety and emission regulations would help the OEMs a lot. Imagine being able to get an Alpine A110 is the US and Brits getting their hands on GT350s (Ford thought the Brits would want the 4 pots, definitely under estimated the petrol heads).

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    End the Chicken Tax!

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Some how, despite all these “restrictions” we can buy every viable German/European car in the U.S. and a couple that aren’t.

    Face it. There’s not a single large meaningful car market in the world with less auto import restrictions or more choices for buyers from more brands in more segments, competitively priced, than the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Oberkanone

      I disagree. I want what I want. Waiting 25 years to import it is not acceptable.

      Golf GTD

      Mahindra Thar

      Renault Kwid

      Chevrolet Tornado

      Suzuki Jimny

      FIAT Panda 4WD

      Fiesta ST

      Yaris GRMN

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        So I assume you owned a Fiesta ST while they were sold here. The whole internet wanted them and then so many turned out to buy them that I got 5 grand on the hood when I leased my year old still on the lot one a couple of years ago.

        Or you are like most, found some reason not to buy one and then complain about us not getting the Mk VIII version.

        Can’t complain when they offer the car and you still don’t buy it.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Clearly we’re not getting every car the world has to offer, especially niche cars, limited production, limited markets, 3rd world, etc.

        It could be for a variety of reasons not related to regulatory, like the carmaker’s strategy for their US lineup.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          The abject shakedowns, idiocy and de facto pure corruption referred to as franchise dealer laws, along wit CAFE nonsense, are the main barriers. I’d personally set up shop selling station wagons, hiluxes and other niche vehicles (in the US) online, were it not for idiotic restrictions such as those. The US market is plenty bi enough when viewed as a whole, to support lots and lots of niches, if it was not for America being a totalitarian dump owned and ran by halfwits, for halfwits, by now.

    • 0 avatar
      Sid SB

      Agree we get every SUV (near enough!).

      There are a lot of brands and models we do get here, just because we want pick ups and SUVs.

      I would contend that for a petrolhead that other countries have a better selection. The UK has a huge choice of enthusiast models, despite the gas costs……but pick up selection is no where near as good as the US. OEMs have to follow the market.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    The Truth About Politics:
    VDA President Hildegard Müller has more influence with the President of the U.S. than I ever will.

  • avatar

    Biden is the president yet, elected or not. Or am I missing something?
    Yet sellout of American working class has already started.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      The only thing I regret, not enough ammo purchased

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Trump is President until January 20, 2021. No state has certified their elections yet, and electors (the people who actually choose the President) must be chosen by December 8th, the “safe harbor” date when governors must certify all legal challenges have been met. If a state fails to meet that date, its electoral votes may not count. The electors vote in their state on December 14th, then send their votes to the new Congress when it meets on January 4th, which certifies that vote. The election isn’t over until then.

      • 0 avatar
        Imagefont

        Oh it’s over, don’t you worry. Trump has no case, no fraud, no evidence. Lawsuits are being thrown out as soon as they come in because it’s just his standard BS. On January 20th all trespassers will be removed from the Whitehouse.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Globalists starting swallowing US already

  • avatar
    Dartdude

    Well it looks like if slow Joe becomes President we go back to being the world’s bitches

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Trump would’ve told them to eat a der weiner.

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