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Trump threatens 20 percent tariffs on EU cars

President Donald Trump is threatening to slap a 20 percent tariff on cars from the European Union. | AP file photo

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is threatening to slap a 20 percent tariff on cars from the European Union.

In a tweet Friday, Trump complains about EU trade barriers and vowed “if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!”

The EU has just slapped tariffs on $3.4 billion in U.S. products, ranging from bourbon to motorcycles, in retaliation for Trump’s decision to tax imported steel and tariffs.

Trump has already directed U.S. trade officials to study whether auto imports pose a threat to national security that would justify hitting them with tariffs or quotas.

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Germany’s powerful auto lobby group, the German Association of the Automotive Industry, cautioned that “a further escalation of the trade dispute helps nobody.”

It says in a statement: “The German auto industry calls for continued talks with the United States, despite the current difficult situation, in order to strengthen trans-Atlantic relations and solve existing problems.”

It adds that a trans-Atlantic agreement that conforms to the rules of the World Trade Organization “could be a possible pathway.”