Trump threatens more tariffs on European Union imports

US President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to slam huge tariffs on imported cars from the European Union, a massive new threat in the escalating trade conflict between the allies.

The United States now imposes a 2.5% tariff on imported passenger cars from the European Union and a 25%tariff on imported pickup trucks.

President Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the United States for criticism and told carmakers that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and slammed Germany's automotive trade surplus with the US.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday the US's new stance on trade "goes against all logic and history".

It was the first time that the United States has taken such action on a product basis since President Donald Trump imposed global tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum in March, citing the need to defend "national security".

Together with United States tariffs against Mexico and Canada, the trade battles have raised the spectre of a global trade war, spooking financial markets that fear major consequences to the global economy.

Effective from today (22 June), the tariffs on USA goods include a 25% increase on American whiskey and Bourbon.

President Donald Trump has fueled trade war fears by pledging to impose tariffs of 20pc on imports of European Union cars if trade barriers are not "broken down".

Cranberries, cranberry juice, orange juice, sweetcorn and peanut butter are among the other food products targeted. Some clothing and paper products will also be subject to tariffs of 35 percent and some blankets will have tariffs of 50 percent. Administration officials have said China should strengthen protections for United States companies' intellectual property, and reduce tariffs on U.S. products.

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"Our response must be clear but measured", he added during a speech to the Irish parliament.

Lim said: "This is going to escalate, with the U.S. especially looking at German cars".

European consumers would be able to find "alternatives", European Commissioner for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said.

He said: "We don't want to fight in public via Twitter. What's more, these products will have a strong symbolic impact".

When it comes to the FX market, traders are struggling to place trade concerns into a coherent narrative. It is going to hurt the stock market. From another perspective, the U.S. economy is outperforming most of its global peers and therefore may be best situation to weather a protectionist-driven economic slowdown. Additional tariffs on US$34bn worth of Chinese imports are set to come into effect from 6 July.

Earlier this month, the President lashed out at USA ally Canada for the Prime Minister's comments criticizing US trade policy.

Trump's tweet seems to indicate that no deal on tariffs was struck this week.

Trump had a messy showdown with leaders from Europe and Canada at a recent Group of Seven meeting. "That would mean less money to invest in plants here as well as plants in Europe".

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