President Donald Trump has again singled out Mercedes and BMW as part of his continued threats to impose protectionist trade measures. In a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mr. Trump called on the European Union to “open up the barriers and get rid of your tariffs. And if you don’t, we’re going to tax Mercedes-Benz, we’re going to tax BMW.”
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Last week, investors sold shares in BMW and Daimler after President Donald Trump said the U.S. may tax imports of European cars if the EU retaliates against his plan to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel. Daimler stock fell a further 0.5 percent on Monday, while BMW dropped 1.2 percent while European shares were up 0.7 percent on average.
On Saturday, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter again on the subject of tariffs: “If they [the EU] drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on US products going in, we will likewise drop ours. Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!”
Duties on cars imported into the United States are currently 2.5 percent, less than the EU’s 10 percent. But the imbalance goes the other way on trucks and pick-ups.
In response, the German car industry has reminded Mr. Trump that, of the 1.3 million German cars sold in the United States in 2017, some 800,000 were manufactured domestically.
German carmakers said last week that a trade war between the United States and Europe “must be avoided at all costs”, expressing their profound concern after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to tax car imports.