The European Union will enjoy the "full support" of its member states to retaliate against the US, if Washington decides to impose tariffs on European cars and car parts, AP reported citing an anonymous EU official. The report comes hot on the heels of a EU gathering in Bucharest on 22 February to discuss trade relations with the US.
During these talks EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström expressed concern about "certain aspects of the [US] trade policy" and called for an immediate start to negotiations with Washington.
Previously, Bloomberg reported, citing an anonymous EU official that the bloc is thinking over the idea of imposing tariffs on Caterpillar, Xerox and Samsonite, while another anonymous source told AFP that apart from them, American coal, cars, and chemicals could also be affected. Some 20 billion euros ($22.7 billion) worth of wares produced in the US (not made outside of it by American firms) would be affected by these tariffs, the agency's source estimated.
While the fate of the tariffs depends on the outcome of trade talks between Brussels and Washington, not all EU states are equally keen on engaging in them. France has not so far supported the start of negotiations with the US, while Germany is actively supporting them as its car industry is at stake.
US President Donald Trump once again threatened to impose tariffs on European cars and car parts on 20 February 2019 if Brussels and Washington cannot come to an agreement on trade. The EU wants to abolish tariffs in trade with its transatlantic partner, while the US wants to gain access to the European agricultural market, something that could potentially threaten the farming industry in France and several other states.