US President Donald Trump stands with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel during the playing of National Anthems during arrival at Melsbroek Military Airport in Melsbroek, Belgium on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. FILE PHOTO/AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

EU officials to meet Trump, wielding a $20-billion threat

The European Union is ready to put tariffs on $20 billion of American goods if Trump puts duties on car imports.

Top European Union officials were going into a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday warning they are ready to put tariffs on $20 billion of American goods if he puts duties on car imports.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom will meet Trump in Washington to try to talk him out of imposing the auto tariffs, which would hurt the industry on both sides of the Atlantic and ratchet up trade tensions significantly.

“The aim of this visit is to cool down the situation and prevent an escalation of the trade conflict,” Malmstrom told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter in an interview.

But she noted that if the U.S. proceeds with the duties, the EU is ready to respond. It will impose new tariffs on a range of U.S. products, including agricultural and high-tech products and machinery.

Trump has repeatedly called the EU – which includes many of the U.S.’s oldest and most committed allies – an unfair trading partner and even labeled it a “foe.” His administration this year imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, drawing retaliation from the EU on a series of U.S. goods. But those tariffs covered about $3 billion in goods and would pale in comparison with possible 25 per cent tariffs on imports of cars, trucks and auto parts.

Related: Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

Related: In TV interview, Trump claims queen called Brexit ‘complex’

Related: US-China kick off ‘biggest trade war in economic history’

It is unclear what Trump’s approach will be in the talks. After tweeting that “Tariffs are the greatest!” he suggested hours later in another post that “both the U.S. and the E.U. drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies!”

The EU’s budget chief, Guenther Oettinger, said the EU was prepared to discuss lowering and restructuring all tariffs for all products.

“We want to avoid a further escalation of the trade dispute (into) a trade war,” Oettinger told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. “We have good arguments, clear numbers and we have ideas, too.”

“Whether these will help, nobody knows. But not to try, not to fly over there for the meeting, would have been the wrong path.”

Auto tariffs would be particularly painful for Germany, where the industry is huge and has long been the symbol of postwar wealth.

And it is not just Europeans opposing these tariffs, but American companies as well. The duties would increase the cost of many components that American manufacturers import and use in making cars. Ultimately, that will make cars more expensive for U.S. consumers.

EU has a huge stake in the U.S. industry, where European companies produce almost 3 million cars a year, accounting for over a quarter of production in the United States.

The biggest exporter of U.S.-made cars is a German company — BMW, through its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

German producers and supplies employ more than 118,000 people at about 300 plants and manufacture more than 800,000 vehicles per year in the U.S. — with more than half of the cars being exported, according to figures provided by the German automotive industry.

___

Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.

Jari Tanner, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The ocean “Blob” returns

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

VIDEO: Coast Guard works with First Nations in oil response exercise

Approximately 80 people involved in mock oil response in the Prince Rupert harbour

Judd Repole honoured with jersey retirement

Repole played for five years with the Osoyoos Coyotes in the KIJHL

Part 2: Online shopping, taxes and labour pressure on Rupert’s retail

Part Two of a series investigating the shrinking retail sector on the North Coast of B.C.

Fire crews put out basement fire on 6th Avenue East

Prince Rupert fire chief said the fire is not being considered suspicious

This Week Pocast – Episode 107

Rainbow Nation’s host Russel Adams joins the show to talk about elections, cannabis and Halloween

Delivering the paper as a family

The Northern View is looking for newspaper carriers in Prince Rupert, join our team today

Colourfully named cannabis products appeal to youth, Tory health critic says

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says the Liberal government needs to do more to ensure cannabis products available online are not enticing to young people

Trial set for man charged with decades-old murder of Monica Jack

Garry Handlen accused of killing Merritt girl; also charged with Abbotsford murder

Bernardo-like sexual deviancy poorly understood, expert says

What exactly causes such deviance is not known but some evidence exists of physical brain damage to the front part of the brain

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Former B.C. cop sentenced to jail ‘in the community’ after caught in Creep Catchers sting

Dario Devic pleaded guilty after getting caught up in Surrey Creep Catcher sting in Whalley in 2016

5 races to watch in B.C.’s municipal elections this Saturday

This year’s election results across more than 160 cities in B.C. will start pouring in after polls close Saturday at 8 p.m.

Most Read