Juncker Again Talks Down May Hours Before Key Brexit Meeting

Juncker Again Talks Down May Hours Before Key Brexit Meeting

The industry has warned that feared tariffs of up to 25 percent on millions of imported cars and parts would add thousands of dollars to vehicle costs and potentially lead to hundreds of thousands of job losses throughout the USA economy.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung on Tuesday that such a scenario was "difficult to imagine", saying it would be a "belated joke of history".

If European exports are hit by United States actions, the EU will "react in a swift and adequate manner", Margaritis Schinas, a spokesman for the European Commission, told reporters in Brussels on Monday. "President Juncker trusts President Trump's word".

Schinas added that if the report "translates into actions detrimental to European exports, the European Commission would react in a swift and adequate manner".

"Look, we're proud of our cars and we should be allowed to be".

Over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said USA authorities appeared to have already concluded that European cars were a national security threat.

"Abusing the pretext of national security is all the more reason Congress should vote on any proposed tariffs before they can harm American consumers and producers", Mr. Nascimento said.

A confidential U.S. Commerce Department report sent to Trump over the weekend is widely expected to clear the way for him to threaten tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported autos and auto parts by designating the imports a national security threat.

However, EU officials did not disclose further details of the plans.

Trump will have 90 days for any response and, if he says he'll move forward with measures under Department of Commerce recommendations, another 15 days to act.

"Europe must stand united and make it clear that possible further illegal tariffs would cause serious damage to transatlantic relations, and we must show the red card to ruthless nationalism", Lange added.

European Union trade ministers will discuss the talks, as well as the possible countermeasures against the USA, at talks in Bucharest on Thursday.

EU Commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmström travels to Washington on Tuesday (8 January) for a new round of trade talks with U.S. officials, as potential tariffs on cars hold on European industry's head.

Mrs May's meeting with Mr Juncker comes as she fights to finalise an alternative European Union withdrawal plan to present to the House of Commons ahead of the next round of key Brexit votes on February 27.

The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents auto parts suppliers, warned that tariffs will shrink investment in the United States at a time when the auto industry is already reeling from declining sales, Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum, and tariffs on auto parts from China. However, the Europeans said that the continuation of trade talks is conditional on auto tariffs being scrapped.

The Commerce Department began its investigation a year ago under the same law used to impose higher tariffs on steel and aluminum.

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