Trump threatens tariffs on European cars if no EU trade deal

US President Donald Trump. (AFP pic)

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the United States would impose tariffs on European car imports if it cannot reach a trade deal with the European Union.

Speaking to reporters at a White House meeting with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Trump said the auto tariffs were something his administration was considering.

“We’re trying to make a deal. They’re very tough to make a deal with – the EU,” Trump said.

“If we don’t make the deal, we’ll do the tariffs.”

Earlier this week, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the US president, known for a strong protectionist approach to trade, had promised he would not impose additional import tariffs on European cars for the time being.

But a confidential Commerce Department report sent to Trump over the weekend was widely expected to clear the way for him to threaten tariffs of up to 25% on imported autos and auto parts by designating the imports as a national security threat.

Trump on Wednesday downplayed the report, calling it a study.

“We’ve studied it very carefully. We’ve seen the results. But the bottom-line result is whether or not we can make a deal with the EU that’s fair,” he said.