UPDATED 10:53 AM PT — Monday, February 18, 2019
President Trump is considering whether to impose stiff auto tariffs on the European Union. The EU responded by saying it will retaliate if the president does take action.
“The European Union will stick to its word as long as the U.S. does the same,”said spokesman Margaritis Schinas of the EU Commission.
The Commerce Department recently gave the White House its report, which recommended whether or not to place tariffs targeting imported vehicles and auto parts. On Monday, the bloc’s spokesman said the EU is aware of the report, and said it will react in a swift and adequate manner if the U.S. imposes fresh tariffs.
The president previously said he was considering unleashing 25-percent tariffs on EU auto imports as he looks to negotiate new trade agreement. He has also questioned whether imported vehicles pose a national security threat.
This comes after President Trump and the EU Commission president met in July last year. At that time, both sides considered the meeting a success.
“We agreed today, first of all, to work together towards zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,” President Trump stated following the meeting.
The EU commission spokesman pointed to that meeting as the reason he believes measures will not be taken by the U.S.
“At the time, we agreed that both the EU and the U.S. would refrain from taking any measures that would go against the spirit and the letter of the joint statement,” stated Schinas. “President Juncker trusts President Trump’s word.”
The president has 90 days to decide whether to act upon the recommendations made by the Commerce Department, although the report’s findings are not expected to be released publicly soon.
EU trade ministers are set to meet at the end of this week, with trade relations with the U.S. expected to be at the top of the agenda.