President Donald Trump on Wednesday amped up the trade fight with the European Union, reportedly threatening "tremendous retribution" if there is not a fair auto-trade deal.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is expected to visit the White House July 25, when economic growth will be up for discussion along with foreign and security policy, counterterrorism and energy security, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump has repeatedly threatened tariffs on imported automobiles and auto parts — on top of the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed earlier this year — if European leaders do not make trade concessions.
If he makes good on threats of 20 percent to 25 percent tariffs on autos and auto parts, it would be Trump's biggest yet, the Journal reported, adding America last year imported $176 billion of passenger cars, $36 billion of trucks, and $147 billion of auto components.
"If we don't negotiate something fair, then we have tremendous retribution, which we don't want to use, but we have tremendous powers," Trump said at a White House Cabinet meeting. "Including cars, cars is the big one."
He is also aiming to use claims of national security to gain leverage in negotiations, the Journal reported. According to the news outlet, the Commerce Department is conducting an investigation that would officially justify the proposed auto tariffs in the interest of national security — a tactic also used to impose global tarries on steel and aluminum imports.
The administration's tariffs have triggered countermeasures that so far target $24 billion worth of American-made goods, the Journal reported.
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