WASHINGTON, March 11 (PTI): US President Donald Trump has threatened to impose a hefty import duty on European cars if the European Union retaliates against his steep tariffs on aluminum and steel.
Earlier this week, Trump officially announced tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum, despite major opposition from his own party, triggering a possible trade war with China and Europe.
The EU threatened an “arsenal” of retaliatory measures when the tariffs were first proposed, including imposing import tariffs on products made in red districts.
Trump threatened to tax European-made cars if they retaliated against the aluminum and steel tariffs with their own taxes on US imports like Harley Davidson motorcycles, bourbon and blue jeans.
“The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the US very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on steel and aluminum,” Trump said in a tweet Saturday.
“If they drop their horrific barriers and tariffs on US products going in, we will likewise drop ours. Big deficit. If not, we tax cars etc. FAIR!” Trump said in a tweet.
During a joint White House news conference with visiting Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, the European Union has been particularly tough on the US.
The European Union, Trump rued, makes it almost impossible for the US to do business with them. And yet they send their cars and everything else back into the US, he said.
“And they can do whatever they like, but if they do that, then we put a big tax of 25 per cent on their cars, and believe me, they won’t be doing it very long,” Trump asserted.
“The European Union has not treated us well, and it’s been a very, very unfair trade situation. I’m here to protect, and one of the reasons I was elected is I’m protecting our workers, I’m protecting our companies, and I’m not going to let that happen,” Trump asserted.
As such Trump asserted that he is going ahead with his plans to sign the executive order to impose import tariffs on steel and aluminum.
“We’re doing tariffs on steel. We cannot lose our steel industry. It’s a fraction of what it once was. We can’t lose our aluminum industry; also a fraction of what it once was. And our country is doing well. The massive tax cuts, and all of the deregulation has really kicked us into gear,” he said.
“But I have to work on trade deals. We’re working on NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) right now, and if we’re able to make a deal with Canada and Mexico in NAFTA, then there will be no reason to do the tariffs with Canada and Mexico,” Trump said.
The NAFTA is an deal signed by Canada, Mexico, and the US, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America.