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Trump Threatens To Impose 20% Tariff On Cars Imported From Europe


In a move likely to further inflame global trade tensions, President Donald Trump has threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all cars imported to the U.S. from the European Union.

Trump stated in a post on Twitter on Friday that he would impose the new tariffs unless the EU removes tariffs and trade barriers placed on the U.S.

"Based on the Tariffs and Trade Barriers long placed on the U.S. and it great companies and workers by the European Union, if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!" Trump tweeted.

The president claimed during a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota, on Wednesday that trade barriers prevent U.S. auto companies like Ford (F) from selling cars in Europe, while European auto companies like Mercedes and BMW sell cars by the millions in the U.S.

"So, they're basically saying, 'We are going to sell you millions of cars. By the way, you're not going to sell us any.' Not going to work that way anymore, folks. Not going to work that way," Trump said.

Last month, Trump instructed the Commerce Department to conduct an investigation to determine whether automobile imports threaten to impair U.S. national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

"There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said at the time.

He added, "The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent investigation into whether such imports are weakening our internal economy and may impair the national security."

Trump previously cited national security concerns when imposing a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.

The latest threat from Trump comes just days after the European Union said tariffs on more than $3 billion worth of U.S. products will take effect on Friday in response to the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Earlier this week, Trump signaled an escalation of the U.S. trade dispute with China by directing U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify $200 billion worth of Chinese goods for additional tariffs at a rate of 10 percent.

Trump said the tariffs will go into effect if China refuses to change its unfair trade practices and insists on going forward with recently announced tariffs.

The president threatened to pursue additional tariffs on another $200 billion worth of goods if China increases its tariffs yet again.

Despite the threat from Trump, China vowed to retaliate with "strong" countermeasures if the U.S. goes ahead with the new tariffs.

The potential tariffs announced by Trump came as the U.S. and China both recently announced plans to impose tariffs on up to $50 billion worth of goods imported from the other country.

(Photo: Michael Vadon)

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