• Privatisation tweet

    A probe into a tweet by Tesla chairperson and CEO Elon Musk may open pandora's box.

  • State Capture Inquiry

    Nedbank says ex-Mining Minister Mosebenzi Zwane sought to keep Gupta accounts open.

  • Tighter rules

    'Corporate scandals, rumours and innuendo' has prompted the JSE to plan new listing rules.

Loading...

EU dismisses Trump's car threats, vows to 'stand up to bullies'

Mar 12 2018 14:54
Nikos Chrysoloras, Bloomberg

Brussels - The European Union’s trade chief dismissed US President Donald Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on car imports, and vowed to “stand up to bullies,” adding to signs that a widening trans-Atlantic rift over protectionism could escalate into an all-out trade war.

“In some places, trade has been blamed for the pains of globalisation, others use it as a scapegoat and insist that we can hide behind walls and borders,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said at a conference in Brussels on Monday. “And just recently we’ve seen how it is used to threaten and intimidate us. But we are not afraid, we will stand up to the bullies.”

After announcing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Trump reiterated over the weekend that he may now place levies on European cars, telling supporters at a rally that the countries of the EU have banded together “to screw the US on trade.”

The latest spat comes as disputes over areas ranging from climate change to Middle East policy strain the bonds holding together the world’s closest political and military alliance.

A meeting in Brussels between Malmstrom and her US counterpart Robert Lighthizer on Saturday ended without a breakthrough, as the EU didn’t receive reassurances that it will be exempted from metal tariffs. Malmstrom said on Monday that “she has read on twitter” that Trump may offer clarifications on which countries may be spared.

The bloc says that it’s a close ally of the US and therefore any import levies on national security grounds are unjustified. While no further bilateral meetings are planned at the moment, contacts are ongoing as the EU is racing against time to secure an exemption before the aluminum and steel tariffs are enacted in less than two weeks.

Asked to respond to Trump’s accusations that the EU is imposing barriers to US automakers, Malmstrom said that “it’s hard to argue on Twitter over these issues, but the European Union is a very open market.” The bloc does impose a 10% levy on US car imports, while the US charges a 25% levy on trucks and pick-ups, and up to 40% on some clothes, she said.

Eliminating these tariffs was the subject of the negotiations for a free trade agreement between the EU and the US which stalled under Trump, according to Malmstrom. In any case, “if the issue is a security issue on trade and aluminum, I fail to see how the car issue fits into that picture.”

* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER

Follow Fin24 on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. 24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

eu  |  donald trump  |  economy  |  trade
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 
 

Company Snapshot

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

Did you find Markus Jooste's testimony convincing?

Previous results · Suggest a vote

Loading...