Trump greets EU trade reprisals with threat of steep auto tariff

US stock markets are feeling the heat as tensions over trade between the US and China seem closer to a boil

RICHARD DREW AP US stock markets are feeling the heat as tensions over trade between the US and China seem closer to a boil

The introduction of US tariffs on European Union automobiles and vehicle parts could affect $300 billion in trade, the new EU report, authored by the European Commission, and obtained by Bloomberg states.

That 25% "chicken" tax has been in place since 1964, when the Lyndon Johnson administration initially applied it as punishment for Europe's tax on US chicken imports, but the protectionist measure outlived that conflict. "The woes the administration is inflicting on Chinese companies do not simply translate into boons for USA enterprises and the US economy".

The US opened a new front in the trade war on Friday, telling the World Trade Organisation that appeals rulings in trade disputes could be vetoed if they took longer than the allowed 90 days.

On June 15, Trump said that the United States would impose 25-percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of technology goods from China, effective from July 6, prompting Beijing to swiftly levy symmetrical tariffs on 659 items of USA goods worth a total of about $50 billion. "The United States' decision to impose tariffs on Europe goes against that".

In an interview with Business Insider Germany last week, Bernhard Mattes, the president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, said tariffs would hurt not only European automakers but the United States economy as well.

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President Donald Trump on Friday threatened in a tweet to unilaterally impose a 20 percent tariff on all automobile imports from Europe, further breaking from Republicans in Congress and front-running an investigation he had ordered from the Commerce Department into whether these imports harm national security. Mattes also said German automakers could not subsist without access to the USA market.

Ambassador Osakwe said trade wars cause collateral trade and economic damage for other countries not involved in the war and the global economy in general.

FILE - Cars for export stand in a parking area at a shipping terminal in the harbor of the northern German town of Bremerhaven, Oct. 8, 2012.

Last month, Trump instructed his Commerce Department to begin a national security investigation that would provide the legal underpinning for new tariffs on cars.

Big River Steel, which has a $1.3 billion steel mill near Osceola, does not comment on trade policies or tariff issues, a company spokesman said.

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Juncker said on Thursday that the United States decision to impose tariffs "goes against all logic and history".

The initial wave of European Union retaliatory tariffs is aimed at American goods worth €2.8 billion ($3.2 billion).

Trump posted his threat on Twitter the day European Union reprisals took effect against US tariffs on European steel and aluminium. Since China joined the WTO in 2001, the United States has shed 3.1 million factory jobs, though many economists attribute much of that loss not to trade but to robots and other technologies that replace human workers. Trump's direct mention of the Harley facing 100 per cent duty may have prompted the Indian government to keep it off its tariff list as an olive branch offering.

Trump's trade policies have also escalated conflict with Canada and Mexico as he seeks to renegotiate the $1.1 trillion North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Trump administration has accused China of undermining U.S. high-tech sectors with state subsidies, forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft. Last year, the U.S. president threatened domestic manufacturers with a 35 percent tariff on cars produced outside the US. Prior to the meeting, Trump reportedly told French President Emmanuel Macron during a recent state visit that he wants to get to the point where there will be no Mercedes-Benz models driving down New York's upscale Fifth Avenue. It accounts for 5 percent of Volkswagen's VW brand sales and 12 percent of its Audi brand sales.

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