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EU promises 'swift' action if US imposes tariffs on cars as Trump weighs decision

The US Commerce Department has issued guidance for the president

Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

European Union leaders are promising "swift" action if their vehicles are hit with import taxes by the U.S., as they await President Donald Trump's response to a classified report issued by the Department of Commerce.

What are the details?

According to The Associated Press, President Trump has 90 days to review new guidance from the Commerce Department on whether auto imports constitute a danger to national security. While they await the president's decision amid ongoing trade talks, several European leaders gave their two cents while warning there would be retaliation if tariffs on European vehicles were raised.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas acknowledged the EU was aware the investigation was complete, telling the media on Monday, "Where this report translates into actions detrimental to European exports, the European Commission would react in a swift and adequate manner."

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told German publication Stuttgarter Zeitung, "Trump gave me his word that there won't be any car tariffs for the time being. I view this commitment as something you can rely on," Reuters reported.

Juncker added that if tariffs on European cars were raised, the EU would not be compelled to buy more soybeans or gas from the U.S. as previously promised.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, "If we're serious about the transatlantic partnership, it's not very easy for me as German chancellor to read...that the American Department of Commerce apparently considers German and European cars to be a threat to the national security of the United States of America," Politico reported.

"Look, we're proud of our cars and we should be allowed to be. And these cars are built in the U.S.," Merkel added. "The biggest BMW factory is in South Carolina, not in Bavaria."

Anything else?

The U.S. Motor and Equipment Manufacturers also issued a statement arguing against any new punitive taxes on foreign vehicles, saying, "These tariffs, if applied, could move the development and implementation of new automotive technologies offshore, leaving America behind. Not a single company in the domestic auto industry requested this investigation," according to Reuters.

Fortune reported that the U.S. currently levies a 2.5 percent tariff on European imports and parts. During a campaign rally in West Virginia last year, President Trump told the crowd: "We're going to put a 25 percent tax on every car that comes into the United States from the European Union."

One last thing…
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