Currently reading: President Trump threatens to impose tariffs on cars imported from the EU
American president proposes trade war to protect homegrown interests; car makes respond by saying they employ hundreds of thousands of US workers

American president Donald Trump has threatened to tax imported cars from the European Union as part of his increasingly vehement rhetoric around trade tariffs.

America is the largest export market for cars built in the EU. Statistics show that  £171 billion worth of cars were exported from the EU last year, with the US the destination for 25% of them. Of those cars, just more than half were exported by German car makers.

Trump’s comments come as part of a wider focus on imported goods, including proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminium. The move is part of his ‘America First’ campaign, in which he has pledged to protect American interests and jobs. He has described existing trade deals that don’t favour America as “very stupid”.

Donald Trump vs the car industry (from January 2017)

The specific threat to the car industry was made in a Tweet, which read: "If the EU wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on US companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the US.

"They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!" [sic]

In a second Tweet he added: "Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!"

As well as widespread condemnation from car makers – who have pointed out that they manufacturer their most successful models in the US already, employing hundreds of thousands of Americans directly and indirectly – Trump’s comments have brought a mixed reaction from his political allies and opponents.

In addition, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau described tariffs as "absolutely unacceptable" and hinted that any tariff would be met with strong resistance and potentially retaliatory action. Brazil, Mexico and Japan have hinted at similar moves.

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Donald Trump vs the car industry (from January 2017)

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d79m 5 March 2018

I think the point is more if

I think the point is more if the EU taxs american cars why shouldnt america tax the EU cars. Seems a fair point and just shows how unfair the EU seems to be. I think big changes will be coming soon. Surely everyone should have a level playing field.

wheels 5 March 2018

Anyone buying Teslas

Anyone buying Teslas :-) suddenly I see patriotism and all that. 

pinball wizard 5 March 2018

The truth on tariffs

The EU imposes a 10% tariff on cars imported from outside. The USA currently has a 2.5% tariff on cars and 25% on trucks. So unusually Trump may have a point here, and these tariffs are why manufacturers build factories in large foreign markets (as well as reducing currency risks). If when we leave the EU we are allowed to do our own deals, cars from Japan and Korea could get 10% cheaper. The BBC and the papers aren’t telling us this basic information (nor Autocar), but it’s all there if you search for it.