WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the government was completing a study about increasing import tariffs on cars from the European Union and suggested he would take action soon.
"We are finishing our study of Tariffs on cars from the E.U. in that they have long taken advantage of the U.S. in the form of Trade Barriers and Tariffs. In the end it will all even out - and it won’t take very long!" Trump tweeted.
On Friday, Trump threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.
Trump told carmakers at a May 11 meeting at the White House that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany's automotive trade surplus with the U.S.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group representing General Motors, Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen and other major automakers, will file written comments warning that a 25 percent tariff on imported passenger vehicles would cost American consumers $45 billion annually, or $5,800 per vehicle, spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist said.
"Nationwide, this tariff would hit American consumers with a tax of nearly $45 billion, based on 2017 auto sales. This would largely cancel out the benefits of the tax cuts," Bergquist said. Consumers also would face higher costs of imported auto parts when buying vehicles from both U.S. and foreign automakers, she said.
The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Saturday, a senior European Commission official said the EU would respond to any U.S. move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc.
The Commerce Department has a February deadline to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to U.S. national security.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday that the department aimed to wrap up the probe by late July or August.
Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the U.S. for criticism.
On Monday in South Carolina, Trump criticized German automakers including BMW for auto imports -- even though BMW employs 9,000 workers at an assembly plant in the state. "We will straighten it out," he said of the imbalance in automotive trade. "It will all work out."
The U.S. currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported cars from the EU and a 25 percent tariff on imported pickups. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on imported U.S. cars.