What's so bad about the EU

Trump: "The EU is possibly as bad as China"

Previously close partners are fighting each other in world trade. After the EU, Canada is now also imposing countermeasures against Donald Trump's punitive tariffs. He criticizes the World Trade Organization, but does not want to leave.

(dpa) The global trade dispute over President Donald Trump's special tariffs on imports into the USA continues to escalate. Trump launched sharp attacks against the EU on Sunday. "The EU is possibly as bad as China," said the president in an interview with Fox News. Europe sells cars to the US, he said, naming the brand name Mercedes. It would be much more difficult for American manufacturers to sell their products in the EU. The US would have a trade deficit of $ 151 billion with the EU.

The Financial Times newspaper reported on Sunday that the EU had sent a warning to the US Department of Commerce. A full-blown trade war threatens with worldwide reprisals amounting to 300 billion dollars. According to the paper quoted by the newspaper, the EU Commission also points out the jobs in the American auto industry that could be affected.

Canada is also suing special tariffs

Like the European Union, Canada has meanwhile taken decisive countermeasures. Tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum products from the USA have been in effect since Sunday. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had announced that it was about goods worth the equivalent of ten billion euros. "Canada has no choice but to strike back with a measured, mutual dollar-for-dollar response," Freeland said on Friday.

Like the EU, Canada is also suing the special tariffs imposed by Trump on imports of steel of 25 percent and aluminum of ten percent. In Canada's case, the measures also violated the provisions of the joint Nafta free trade agreement. Trump does not want to decide on its future until after the American parliamentary election in November. The renegotiations on the agreement, which is the basis for one of the largest free trade areas in the world, should have ended long ago.

Trump denied speculation on Friday that he was planning to leave the WTO. “I'm not talking about withdrawing,” Trump said. However, the WTO had treated the USA very unfairly in the past. This has to stop. The USA lost many disputes at the WTO because they were not sufficiently taken into account when appointing the decision-making body.

Trump had threatened countries such as China and Germany, among others, to further escalate the trade conflict. Additional tariffs on cars delivered to the USA are also under discussion. Several times in this context he mentioned German car production.

EU states agree to react decisively

BMW warns of such tariffs in a letter to the American Minister of Commerce, Wilbur Ross. “The domestic production of automobiles has no apparent connection with the national security of the USA,” it says. "It seems that the purpose of threatening these tariffs is to achieve certain economic goals." The levying of tariffs is not suitable to increase the economic growth of the USA and thereby to boost competitiveness.

The American auto industry is also vehemently against it. The largest American automaker General Motors warned on Friday that the government should raise the trade barriers for automakers, this would harbor risks that could damage competitiveness in the United States and lead to job losses. The Auto Alliance lobby group, which includes GM as well as industry giants such as Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen, warned of high costs for consumers. "Tariffs on cars and auto parts increase prices for customers, they reduce choice and invite trading partners to retaliate," the appeal said.

The EU states have meanwhile agreed to react decisively to possible new additional tariffs by Trump. "The European Union must react to all actions that are clearly protectionist in nature," said the heads of state and government's summit statement on Friday. At the same time, in the text, the EU leaders are once again unreservedly behind the countermeasures that have already been initiated against Trump's additional tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.