Donald Trump defends trade tariffs despite backlash from allies

The stark warning was included in the European Commission's written response to the Trump administration's investigation into imports of cars and vehicle parts.

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Trump has threatened to impose a 20% tariff on the import of cars assembled in the European Union if the bloc fails to withdraw its curbs on Washington.

The EU sent comments to the U.S. on whether motor imports pose enough of a threat to United States national security to justify tariffs and estimating the economic impact.

Brussels delivered the threat amid growing fears of an escalating trade war, as the USA president targets the bloc and others, including China, as part of a campaign to protect United States jobs.

"The European Union previous year made, if you look at a trade surplus, which I think is a very important thing, a hundred and fifty one billion dollars", emphasized Trump.

When Trump tried to say Monday that it's not a big deal if the trade dispute with the European Union continues, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte literally laughed in his face.

The US Chamber also published an interactive map on the internet showing the impact of the trade dispute in all 50 states. The USW union said that South Korea, Japan and Germany target the USA market for exports while limiting access to their own auto markets.

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"We'll spare no effort, be it at the technical or political level, to prevent this from happening", a spokesman for the Commission told reporters, adding that Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's trip to Washington later this month would seek to stop any new U.S. tariffs.

On Tuesday, Trump again slammed motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson on Twitter for moving some of its operations overseas to try to evade retaliatory tariffs on the motorcycles it ships to Europe.

The Chamber also cited $1.7 billion in exports from Pennsylvania, including coffee to Canada, aluminum waste and scrap to China, motorcycles to the European Union and flat-rolled alloy steel to Mexico.

The report assesses the immediate damage to the U.S. economy at $13 billion to $14 billion, with much larger indirect costs from retaliatory measures by the United States' trading partners.

"Escalating tariff threats and the potential of trade wars with our trading partners, including with some of our most important allies, create uncertainty that will be felt by Americans across the country and by businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors", they said.

Although Trump has previously been persuaded to back off trade threats based on the fact that they would hurt states that supported him in the 2016 presidential election, he has taken a more aggressive tack in recent months.

"I will tell you, China wants to make a deal and so do I, but it's got to be a fair deal for this country", he said.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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