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Trump ‘inclined’ to impose new US auto tariffs

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U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to move ahead with tariffs on imported vehicles, a move that could prompt the European Union to agree a new trade deal, said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley on Wednesday.

“I think the president’s inclined to do it,” the Republican senator told reporters. “I think Europe (is) very very concerned about those tariffs … It may be the instrument that gets Europe to negotiate.”

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U.S. Commerce Department recommendations into whether Trump should impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported cars and parts on national security grounds are due by mid-February. A Commerce Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Grassley, who has had regular talks with Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on trade issues, said he did not like new tariffs but “they are a fact of life when Trump is in the White House.” He said they may have been an “effective tool” in getting China, Canada, Mexico and others to negotiate on trade.

Iowa senator Grassley also wants the EU to agree to include agricultural issues in trade talks, although EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström said last week the 28-country bloc could not negotiate on agriculture.

The White House has pledged not to move forward with imposing tariffs on the European Union or Japan as long as it is making constructive progress in bilateral trade talks.

Trump has urged the EU to drop its 10 percent tariff on imported vehicles. The U.S. passenger car tariff is 2.5 percent, while it imposes 25 percent tariffs on pickup trucks.

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Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose new auto tariffs.

“Cars is the big one,” Trump said last year.

The U.S. Trade Representative’s office last week published its objectives for EU talks, including seeking comprehensive agriculture access.

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The prospect of 25 percent tariffs sent shockwaves through the auto industry, with U.S. and foreign-brand producers lobbying against it.

German automakers met with Trump in December to urge him not to impose tariffs. On Monday, Volkswagen AG said it would invest $800 million in its Chattanooga, Tennessee operations and add 1,000 jobs to build electric vehicles. That drew praise from Trump.

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Automakers say imposing 25 percent tariffs would raise cumulative prices for U.S. vehicles by $83 billion annually and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. They argue there is no evidence auto imports pose a national security risk.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, whose members include General Motors Co , VW and Toyota Motor Corp, warned tariffs would boost imported car prices by nearly $6,000 on average.

Earlier this week, Senators Doug Jones and Lamar Alexander re-introduced legislation to delay any 25 percent auto tariff and require the International Trade Commission to conduct a comprehensive study before tariffs could be applied.

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Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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MSNBC guest goes off on Chris Matthews for comparing Sanders to Nazis: ‘He had kin murdered in the Holocaust’

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Time magazine editor Anand Giridharadas criticized MSNBC host Chris Matthews over the weekend for his alleged bias against Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Giridharadas remarks came after Matthews compared Sanders' win in Nevada to a Nazi invasion.

"Last night was a historic win that I think a lot of us are still struggling to understand," Giridharadas explained. "It's historic because we may be seeing that we are paddling through a bend of a river in history here. Something is happening in America right now that actually does not fit our mental models."

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2020 Election

‘Kiss Florida goodbye’: Voto Latino head warns Democrats of coming 2020 debacle

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," Voto Latino CEO María Teresa Kumar said Democrats should not count on taking Florida's 29 electoral votes in the upcoming 2020 presidential election if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the at the top of the ticket.

During a fairly contentious panel discussion on the viability of Sanders as a candidate due to self-identifying as a democratic socialist, Kumar claimed that would not play well Florida's Latino community.

"All I can think about when David [Corn] was unpacking it for us, we can all agree is you can kiss Florida goodbye," she explained. "I say that, Floridians -- Latinos that have fled socialism, they have fled and they are in Florida and they have sensibilities that are different from the rest of the Latino community."

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CNN’s Bakari Sellers schools Rick Santorum over claim Trump is not part of the ‘extreme hard right’

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During a panel discussion on CNN's State of the Union, contributor Bakari Sellers set fellow panelist Rick Santorum straight after he tried to claim that Donald Trump doesn't take far-right positions.

Following a discussion on Sen. Bernie Sanders' Nevada caucus win, Santorum tried to note the major differences between Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Responding to conservative commentator Linda Chavez who called both Sanders and Trump "two angry people," Santorum remarked, "I wanted to take issue with what Linda said: two angry folks representing the extremes, and I would agree with that, with Bernie Sanders, and he is representing, no question, the extreme of the Democratic Party and he says that he is a socialist and he is angry, I agree."

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