Trump threatens auto tariffs if deal with European Union not reached

US president Donald Trump has threatened that the US could impose tariffs on European car imports if a trade deal with the EU could not be reached.

European Union Donald Trump Tariff Austria United States Jean-Claude Juncker

Trump told reporters on Wednesday that auto tariffs were something his administration was considering.

‘We’re trying to make a deal. They’re very tough to make a deal with - the EU,’ Trump said. ‘If we don’t make the deal, we’ll do the tariffs.’ He added, at a white house meeting with Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz.


Mr Kurz said he wanted to de-escalate the trade war between the US and EU, but Trump has said he isn’t taking car tariffs off the table.

Kurz attempts to de-escalate

Austria's suppliers to German carmakers would be most affected by the tariffs.
Mr Kurz said he wanted to advance trade negotiations during his talks with Trump saying he hopes the trade war "does not gain momentum."

Trump said the US and Austria have a "great trade relationship," but said that Brussels is "very tough to make a deal with.”

Trade deal hangs in the balance


Last week European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was confident that Trump had promised he would not impose additional import tariffs on European cars.

It comes after a confidential commerce department report was sent to Trump, hoping to clear the way for him to threaten tariffs of up to 25% on imported autos by labelling the imports as a national security threat.

However, Trump on Wednesday called the report a study, re-iterating the tariffs would weigh on whether a trade deal with the EU could be made, and not the report.

‘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.


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