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.
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.
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.
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.
Aside from economic matters, US-European ties are already upended over Trump’s approach towards Iran and Syria, as well as other issues.
Trump betting he can win re-election by spinning new conspiracy theories to explain investigations: report
Special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into President Donald Trump's association with Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 presidential election may be over. But that does not mean the president is free from oversight.
According to Politico, Trump is still facing 15 civil and criminal probes by at least nine federal, state, and municipal agencies on everything from obstruction of justice to campaign finance violations to using his office to enrich his family and businesses. But president is not bothered by these investigations — or at least, he believes that he can use them to his political advantage.
Meet the mysterious conservative lawyer who keeps turning up in the Russia probes
A prominent conservative lawyer keeps showing up in dramas central to the Trump administration and its battles with Congress—and it turns out he has intimate knowledge of Felix Sater’s intelligence work for the U.S. government while he was working with Trump.
The Moscow-born Sater is the financial criminal and violent felon who worked closely with Trump for years while simultaneously serving as a long-term informant for the FBI and other national security agencies.
In 2015 and into mid-2016, Sater pushed for the development of a Trump Tower in Moscow with his old friend Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer, while trying to enlist support from the Russian government for Trump’s campaign.
House Democrats have a new list of ‘star witnesses’ who are beyond Trump’s reach: report
According to a report from Politico, House leaders have developed a new plan to get what are called "star witnesses" to appear in public hearings who are outside of Donald Trump's ability to block them from speaking by asserting executive privilege.
With former Oval Office employees avoiding or ignoring subpoenas as the White House runs interference for them, investigators are eyeing people who were close to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign -- but were not government employees.