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White House gets report that could trigger tariffs against imported cars

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The White House received Monday a Commerce Department report on the auto industry that could trigger tariffs against imported cars and intensify tensions with Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has labeled as “frightening” the prospect that European car imports could be declared a national security threat to the United States.

Two people familiar with the matter earlier told AFP that the Commerce Department report has concluded that auto imports pose such a threat.

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As part of his “America First” agenda, US President Donald Trump has already imposed a range of tariffs against allies, as well as China.

“Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross formally submitted to President Donald J. Trump the results of the Department of Commerce’s investigation into the effect of imports of automobiles and automobile parts on the national security of the United States,” a Commerce Department statement issued late Sunday said.

It gave no further details. Sunday was the deadline for Ross to file his report.

Trump ordered the investigation in May, and after receiving the report he now has 90 days to decide whether or not to impose tariffs.

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Trump has threatened 25 percent duties on European autos, especially targeting Germany, which he says has harmed the American car industry.

In July, Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reached a trade truce under which they pledged no new tariffs while negotiations continued.

The White House has already used the national security argument — saying that undermining the American manufacturing base impairs military readiness, among other claims — to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

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His action drew instant retaliation from the EU, Canada, Mexico and China.

In 2017 just under half of the 17 million cars sold in the United States were imported, most of them produced in Canada and Mexico. Those two countries have reached a new free trade pact with Washington and are expected to be exempt from any new automobile duties.

German automobile groups last year exported 470,000 cars from Germany to the United States, according to the VDA manufacturers’ federation.

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Aside from economic matters, US-European ties are already upended over Trump’s approach towards Iran and Syria, as well as other issues.


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DOJ’s case against Andrew McCabe is ‘weak and likely to fail’: Ex-federal prosecutor

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In an opinion piece for POLITICO this Friday, former federal prosecutor and legal affairs commentator Renato Mariotti characterized the case federal prosecutors want to bring against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as "weak and likely to fail at trial."

President Trump fired McCabe in March of last year just before he was set to retire. McCabe's planned retirement came in the wake of a DOJ internal watchdog's determination that he had authorized a leak about a federal investigation into the Clinton Foundation as the 2016 presidential campaign was ending. According to investigators, McCabe displayed a "lack of candor" when asked about the leak. On Thursday of last week, federal prosecutors recommended that charges be brought against him.

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Trump’s most reliable and obsequious sycophants

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U.S. presidents, historically, have been very reliant on key advisers — and sometimes, they were even criticized by their supporters for it. President George W. Bush, for example, was criticized by some of his supporters for failing to question former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on foreign policy matters; some of President Barack Obama’s supporters complained that he was too reliant on former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner when it came to economic policy. But President Donald Trump has been a major exception, angrily refusing to listen to what key advisors have had to say. And when former National Security Advisor John Bolton left the Trump Administration earlier this month — either because he was fired or because he quit — it was only one of the many departures that underscored Trump’s inability to accept any type of criticism. From former Defense Secretary James Mattis to former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to former Secretary of States Rex Tillerson, anyone who questions Trump is likely to either be fired or quit.

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GOP voters infuriated by primary cancellations to protect Trump from challengers

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Republican voters are frustrated by states canceling GOP primaries to boost President Donald Trump's re-election chances.

The president is currently facing three primary challengers in former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, and many GOP voters are angry that states are taking steps to throttle their campaigns, reported Business Insider.

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