President Donald Trump rejected a European Union offer to scrap tariffs on cars, likening the bloc's trade policies to those of China.
“It's not good enough,” Trump said of the offer from Brussels during an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg News. “Their consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars.”
Trump's comments come just hours after Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told European Parliament lawmakers that the EU would be “willing to bring down even our car tariffs to zero, all tariffs to zero, if the U.S. does the same.” Autos were previously excluded from the discussions that focused on manufactured products bought and sold between the two markets.
Trump compared the EU to China, where the president is engaged in another escalating trade war.
“The European Union is almost as bad as China, just smaller,” Trump said.
Trump has ordered the Commerce Department to investigate whether light-vehicle imports imperil national security, under the same provision he invoked to impose global tariffs on steel and aluminum earlier this year. The president has indicated he could impose tariffs of as much as 25 percent on the foreign-made autos.
The findings of the auto study are due by February, though the president could decide to act before then. This week, Trump threatened Canada with auto tariffs if the country failed to join his trade deal with Mexico to replace NAFTA.