European Union warns USA of almost $300-billion retaliation over auto tariffs

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The European Commission reportedly sent a letter to the U.S. threatening to hit $US300 billion of American goods with tariffs.

The European Union is reportedly preparing to slap tariffs on up to $300 billion of USA products, if the White House goes ahead with its threatened tariffs on auto imports from the EU.

The submission said that tariffs on cars and vehicle parts could undermine US auto production by imposing higher costs on USA manufacturers. The EU has a 10% levy, compared with 2.5% for cars entering the United States.

You can add BMW and Hyundai to the growing list of automakers expressing deep concern at auto import tariffs proposed by President Donald Trump.

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"We'll spare no effort, be it at the technical or political level, to prevent this from happening", a spokesman for the Commission told reporters, adding that Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's trip to Washington later this month would seek to stop any new USA tariffs.

The EU now has a 10% levy on USA vehicles compared to 2.5%for cars entering the United States.

Last week, European Council President Donald Tusk warned that Trump's policies are harming trans-Atlantic relations and that "we must be ready to prepare our Union for worst-case scenarios".

In its submission, the European Union said EU companies make close to 2.9 million cars in the United States, supporting 120,000 jobs - or 420,000 if cars dealerships and auto parts retailers are included.

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Profitability at United States auto plants could worsen further if parts imported to America from Europe also face tariffs.

Far-reaching effects from tariffs already in place and new ones mulled by the White House could mean "strongly reduced export volumes and negative effects on investment and employment in the United States", the firm warned.

The impact of retaliatory measures by Washington's trading partners could total around $294 billion - or around 19 per cent of total US exports in 2017, the European Union estimates.

"The domestic manufacture of automobiles has no apparent correlation with U.S. national security", BMW wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, according to Reuters. Military vehicles, such as the Humvee, were made by different, more niche producers.

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