European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom announced to a committee of the European Parliament on July 23 that if the U.S. decides to issue tariffs on cars imported from the European Union (EU), the EU will respond with tariffs on $39.1 billion worth of U.S. goods.
“We welcome the decision by the U.S. not to impose duties on cars and car parts, but of course the very notion that European cars can be a national security threat to the U.S. is absurd,” Malmstrom said, responding to President Donald Trump’s declaration in May that vehicles and parts brought to the U.S. present a risk to national security.
“It is already basically prepared, worth 35 billion euros. I do hope we do not have to use that one,” Malmstrom told the committee.
President Trump is delaying his decision on whether to implement tariffs in order to give the EU and Japan time to negotiate trade with the U.S. While progress was made on a deal to create an easier system for companies to prove that their goods meet U.S. and EU standards, the two nations have yet to discuss the possibility of removing tariffs on industrial products.
“We have still not started those negotiations. The U.S. is not ready to start them if agriculture is not included, which is a red line for us. So for the moment, nothing happens here,” Malmstrom said.
The EU and Japan have until the middle of November to reach a satisfactory deal with the U.S. before President Trump makes a decision on imposing more tariffs.