Trump delays decision on auto tariffs for up to six months
Published : Sunday, 19 May, 2019 at 9:58 AM Count : 123
US president Donald Trump on Friday announced a six-month delay in imposing steep tariffs on auto imports, seeking to pressure Europe and Japan into bargaining table concessions on trade.
The decision marked a temporary reprieve from what would have been a sizable escalation in Trump’s multi-front trade wars, reports AFP.
Trump’s threat targets a major chunk of global economic activity with profound disruptions. Hundreds of billions of dollars in autos are manufactured, shipped and sold internationally every year.
In a proclamation, the president directed US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to update him within 180 days on the outcome of negotiations with the EU, Japan and “any other country” Lighthizer deems appropriate. By leaving the threat of tariffs hanging, Trump’s move raises the temperature in European capitals already angered by the imposition of punishing US duties on steel and aluminum last year.
Trump’s decision also preserved a truce declared last year with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in which both sides agreed to cease trade hostilities while efforts continued to resolve the trade dispute.
Despite the decision, Trump continued his attacks on EU trade policy.
“The European Union treats us, I’d say, worse than China they’re just smaller,” Trump said at an event.
“They don’t want our farmers, they don’t want our cars. They send Mercedes-Benz here like they’re cookies,” Trump said, adding that “they take advantage of us on trade.”
“We all love Europe but it’s not fair.”
In response to the US metal tariffs, the EU last year imposed stinging duties on American exports like motorcycles, orange juice, whiskey and blue jeans, and threatened to retaliate further should the auto tariffs be imposed.
European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom confirmed an existing offer that “the EU is prepared to negotiate a limited trade agreement including cars.”