U.S. resorts once again to high-pressure tactics as a means to alter trade relationships in the short run.
United States President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday to impose tariffs on European automobiles if he does not reach an agreement with the European Union (EU) to reform the bilateral trade relationship.
During a meeting with the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at the White House, President Trump said imposing tariffs on European vehicles is something "we can certainly think about," which could become a reality if the trade agreement is not reached as he expects.
"We are trying to reach an agreement. It is very difficult to reach an agreement with them, with the EU. If we do not reach an agreement, we will do the tariffs," Trump told reporters at the beginning of his meeting with Kurz.
Since coming to power, Trump has asked the European Union to allow the entry of U.S. goods to the European market, threatening the application of tariffs of up to 20 percent on imports of European cars.
Trump dangles auto tariffs in Europe trade talks, but carmakers aren't happy: President Donald Trump is considering new tariffs on foreign cars and auto parts, but some of the strongest opposition is coming… https://t.co/PO9tsE2bcs #ImpeachTrump #ImpeachKavanaugh #TheResistance pic.twitter.com/tnyd2h7EWt— Patrick (@cahulaan) February 20, 2019
This week President Trump received a confidential report from the Commerce Department on the economic impact of importing cars and auto to the U.S., but his statements suggest that he does not plan to impose tariffs during the current negotiations.
The Committee on International Trade of the European Parliament (EP) has already given its approval to the EU to open trade negotiations with the U.S. and approved that these talks include cars. However, Members of the European Parliament argued for suspending negotiations if the U.S.imposes more tariffs on European goods.
As a result, it is expected that both the EP plenary session and EU ministers will make announcements on these negotiations in March.
Meanwhile, as part of Trump’s protectionist agenda, Washington has already imposed tariffs on European steel and aluminum, a measure to which Brussels has responded by increasing taxes on various U.S. exports.
During the high-level White House meeting, Trump described the 32-year-old Austrian chancellor as "a very young leader" and said he had a "very good relationship" with him on commercial and other issues.