Trump rejects EU offer to eliminate auto tariffs

Joshua Roberts | Reuters
President Donald Trump on July 26, 2018. 

President Donald Trump rejected an offer from the European Union to eliminate tariffs on cars if the U.S. did the same in an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday.

Hours earlier, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told the European Parliament's trade committee that the EU is "willing to bring down even our car tariffs to zero, all tariffs to zero, if the U.S. does the same."

Trump said that the offer is "not good enough," adding that European "consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars."

Currently, the U.S. imposes a 25 percent tariff on light trucks and pickups and 2.5 percent on smaller cars. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on all passenger vehicles.

Last month, European automotive stocks soared after Trump met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and the two leaders agreed to work towards eliminating tariffs for non-auto industrial goods. Malmstrom's statement on Thursday went further than Trump and Juncker's agreement, which caused European auto stocks to jump initially before paring their gains.

Trump also said in the interview that the EU is "almost as bad as China, just smaller." The president told aides he supports tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese goods as early as next week, according to Bloomberg.

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