Ahead of Trump meeting, the EU readies new US tariffs worth $20 billion  

  • The EU is trying to prevent Trump from imposing a 20 percent tariff on cars from the region.
  • Just hours ahead of a meeting with Trump at the White House, Cecilia Malmstrom, who leads the EU’s trade policy, told the Swedish newspaper that the bloc is preparing new counter-tariffs on $20 billion worth of American goods.
European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem speaks at EU headquarters on March 7, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
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The United States could face another wave of tariffs from Europe if President Donald Trump signs off new duties on carmakers, the EU’s trade chief told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter Wednesday.

The EU is trying to prevent Trump from imposing a 20 percent tariff on cars from the region. Just hours ahead of a meeting with Trump at the White House, Cecilia Malmstrom, who leads the EU’s trade policy, told the Swedish newspaper that the bloc is preparing new counter-tariffs on $20 billion worth of American goods. She added that the tariffs would not be applied to specific U.S. states, but instead to general items, such as agricultural goods, machinery and high-tech items.

Alexander Winterstein, a spokesperson for the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, said on Wednesday: “If (car) tariffs were to be imposed then we need to take counter measures and we are ready for that, we are ready to act immediately and we are ready to react adequately.”

Car duties and overall trade flows are going to be discussed Wednesday in Washington between Trump, Malmstrom and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Winterstein from the Commission added that “it is always challenging to predict how a meeting with the president of the United States is going to play out.” He also said during a press briefing that Juncker has “a number of ideas with him” and that he will work to avoid a trade war.

The EU has already imposed tariffs worth $3.3 billion on U.S. goods in response to an earlier decision by Trump to impose a 25 and a 10 percent duty on steel and aluminium, respectively, from Europe.