EU Threatens $300 Billion Retaliation If US Moves Ahead With Auto Tariffs

Monday, July 2, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Mon, 07/02/2018

More than a week after President Trump threatened to slap a 20% tariff on auto imports from the European Union, Brussels has issued a written warning to the US Department of Commerce with a threat of its own: If the Trump administration moves ahead with the auto tariffs, the bureaucrats in Brussels won’t hesitate to respond with tariffs on $300 billion in US goods, according to the Financial Times. The threat comes as Trump doubled-down on his trade threats in an interview with Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo that aired Sunday morning, where Trump criticized the EU’s $151 billion trade surplus. Trump initially threatened to impose the 20% tariffs if the EU doesn’t eliminate trade barriers to US automotive imports.

The warning marked the first time that Brussels has filed a written submission with the Commerce Department, which is presently considering Section 232 auto tariffs. In the letter, which was obtained by the FT, Brussels warned that Trump’s threatened auto tariffs would risk sparking a global trade war that could ultimately harm employment in the US and slice billions of dollars off US GDP. That echos a warning from GM, issued in comments to the Commerce Department’s investigation, where the carmaker said tariffs would lead to a “smaller company.”

In a sign of the EU’s exasperation at Mr Trump’s confrontational trade policy, which has already stoked tensions over steel and aluminium, the document said the move “could result in yet another disregard of international law” by the US. It said imposing the car tariffs would not be accepted by the international community and would “damage further the reputation” of the US.

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