Trump threatens 20 percent United States tariff on European Union vehicle imports

US President Donald Trump speaks with the press | Mandel Ngan  AFP via Getty Images

The EU has today introduced retaliatory tariffs on €2.8 billion (US$3.3bn) worth of United States products - including American whiskey - in response to president Donald Trump's tax hikes on imported aluminium and steel.

Turkey said Thursday that it's imposing tariffs worth $267 million on U.S. goods, targeting items such as coal, paper, walnuts, tobacco, rice, whiskey and cars.

Earlier, China underestimated President Donald Trump's resolve to move forward with tariffs unless Beijing changes its "predatory" trade practices, a top USA trade advisor said on Tuesday, in comments that diminished the chances of a negotiated settlement to a looming trade war between the world's economic superpowers.

In fact, the USA is the largest export market for cars built in the EU. The deadline for completing the investigation is February, 2019, but U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that the department aims to wrap up the probe much earlier, by late July or August.

Trump has threatened duties on up to $450 billion of imports from China.

Leaders in China and South Korea have already said they will monitor the situation closely and react accordingly to protect the interests of brands in their countries.

German automakers Mercedes, BMW, and Volkswagen all have plants in southern states and directly employ more than 20,000 U.S. workers between them, primarily at those factories.

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The move against China could raise prices for American consumers and businesses and hit global supply chains for industries like carmakers and electronics.[ nL4N1TO1AX] Chinese reprisals have hit American farmers already. A group representing major United States and foreign vehicle makers has said it was "confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk".

United States president Donald Trump threatens 20 per cent tariffs on European Union cars. He told automakers at a White House meeting in May that he was planning tariffs on some imported vehicles.

Mr Trump launched the investigation last month, ordering the Commerce Department to determine if auto imports are a risk to national security.

The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups.

India confirmed this week it would impose retaliatory tariffs on a range of American goods, including apples, walnuts and some chemical and metal products, from August 4.

In 2017, the USA accounted for about 15% of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. It accounts for 5 percent of VW brand sales and 12 percent of Audi sales.

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