Brussels (AP) - In the trade dispute with the United States gives the outgoing EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker all-clear.
US President Donald Trump will impose no new tariffs on cars from the EU in the coming week, said Juncker the "South German newspaper" (Friday). "Trump will ruffle a bit, but there will not be any automotive tariffs."
The US President has been threatening for months to impose punitive tariffs on car imports from the EU and Japan. He argues with an alleged threat to national security. In May, the US government suspended the threatened punitive tariffs for six months. Washington and Brussels are currently negotiating a trade agreement.
Next week, however, Washington will decide whether the US will in future actually impose new punitive tariffs on car imports. The step would be a significant escalation of the trade conflict and would hit especially German automakers hard.
But Juncker is calm: "He (Trump) will not do it," said the Luxembourger, adding, "You're talking to a fully informed man." Experts say the US government uses punitive tariffs as a threat to make concessions , Washington too wants to avoid a drastic escalation of the trade conflict with major economies a year before the US presidential election - especially as the trade war with China continues to seethe.
The US and China have been waging a fierce trade war for more than a year, slowing economic growth in both countries and slowing the global economy. Both sides have gradually overdrawn each other with ever new punitive tariffs, while talks are ongoing on a trade agreement. However, there was also a recent relaxation here. In October, US President Donald Trump announced the general agreement on a partial agreement. When the agreement is sealed, but is still unclear.
The trade conflict with the EU has also been going on for some time. Already last year, the Trump government introduced special tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU. The international community responded with import taxes for US products in about the same amount. In addition, Washington issued in mid-October punitive tariffs on other products such as Parmesan, olive oil and butter, but also on aircraft from the EU. The tariffs are a retaliation for illegal EU subsidies for the aircraft manufacturer Airbus. The World Trade Organization mediator had given the US government the right to do so, and the EU announced countermeasures.
Nevertheless, Juncker describes his relationship with Trump as good. If it came down to it, he could talk to the US president. "I think Trump can do better with someone who says what he thinks than with those bangers who bow to the American flag three times for no reason."