Germany will only be talking about one thing today: not the threat of US President Donald Trump to issue tariffs on steel and aluminum, but the further threat he made in retaliation to EU Commission’s President’s Juncker’s rebuff of levying taxes on Blue Jeans and Bourbon. To answer this point, Mr Trump aims to touch what the Germans cherish the most: their cars.
Yes, in a tweet President Trump took aim at the German car manufacturers known as Audi, Mercedes, BMW and VW, when he stated: “If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S. They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!”
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">If the E.U. wants to further increase their already massive tariffs and barriers on U.S. companies doing business there, we will simply apply a Tax on their Cars which freely pour into the U.S. They make it impossible for our cars (and more) to sell there. Big trade imbalance!</p>— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/969994273121820672?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 3, 2018</a></blockquote>
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As I’ve explained yesterday, the EU’s politicians are having a hard time keeping up with Mr Trump’s tweeting. They prefer things nice and orderly.
For example, Mr Steffen Seibert, the spokesman for German Chancellor Ms Angela Merkel, was in the midst of press conference when Mr Trump sent out various tweets with regards to the tariff threats. After the second tweet, Mr. Seibert, reflecting the policy of only answering prepared questions, said that “the German government has not changed its position in the past 18 minutes” in a clear aim to mock the White House style (who there said that Germans don’t have sense of humour).
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Be that as it may, the fear is indeed present. Having already lost a lot of clientele in the UK due to Brexit (the pound has severely dropped versus the Euro, making German cars more expensive for the British) the German car manufacturers would not like to see the US go nationalistic when it comes to cars as well.
Some 1.35 million new German cars were sold in the US in 2017.