EU pledges to boost auto tariffs if Trump reneges on agreement

Juncker met Trump at the White House on July 25 when the two sides agreed on a “ceasefire.”

BERLIN — The European Union will respond in kind if U.S. President Donald Trump reneges on his pledge not to impose car tariffs, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said as trade tensions between Europe and the United States rose again.

Juncker told German broadcaster ZDF on Friday that the EU would not let anyone determine its trade policies. If Washington decided to imposed tariffs on vehicles after all, he said, “then we will also do that”.

Trump rejected on Thursday an EU offer to eliminate tariffs on cars and said the EU’s trade policies are “almost as bad as China”, Bloomberg News reported.

Juncker said he had negotiated a “ceasefire agreement” on trade with Trump in July and while such deals were often jeopardized, they were generally respected.

Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is due to meet Juncker on Tuesday, German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said on Friday. She declined to comment on Trump’s latest remarks but said Germany fundamentally sought to lower trade barriers and promote free trade.

The trade issue is also likely to be addressed when Merkel meets French President Emmanuel Macron in France later on Friday.

The EU remains at odds with the United States over the U.S. blocking of the appointment of judges at the World Trade Organization, over tariffs set for reasons of national security, and over Washington’s tough stance towards China.

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