Trump receives report on security threat of auto imports

EU vows 'swift' riposte to threatened US auto tariffs

EU vows 'swift' riposte to threatened US auto tariffs

The European Union warned Monday it would react swiftly if President Trump hits EU auto imports with tariffs, a day after the president received a Commerce Department report that could trigger tariffs.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attends weekly College of Commissioners meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Februray 6, 2019.

The U.S. auto industry urged President Donald Trump's administration on Monday not to saddle imported cars and auto parts with steep tariffs, after the U.S. Commerce Department sent a confidential report to the White House late on Sunday with its recommendations for how to proceed.

"Trump gave me his word that there won't be any auto tariffs for the time being".

"I believe him", Juncker said. He did not specify when Trump made the promise. "However, should he renege on that commitment, we will no longer feel bound by our commitments to buy more USA soya and liquid gas". In the US, domestic and foreign automakers make vehicles in 14 states, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), another lobbying group for carmakers.

Administration officials have said tariff threats on autos are a way to win concessions from Japan and the EU.

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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".

"The European Union will stick to its word as long as the US does the same", spokesman Margaritis Schinas said. "And these cars are built in the U.S.", Merkel added.

The EU and the United States have been trying to work out a trade deal but progress has been slow.

Some trade organizations also blasted the Commerce Department for keeping the details of its "Section 232" national security report shrouded in secrecy, which will make it much harder for the industry to react during the next 90 days Trump will have to review it. Last month, the European Union also approved the use of USA soybeans for the production of biofuels, which would further boost imports.

Angela Merkel publicly poked fun at Mr Trump's claims that German carmakers posed a threat to U.S. national security as the two nations clashed over Iran, nuclear arms controls and the fate of hundreds of Islamic State jihadists captured in Syria.

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