Although trade tensions have seemingly calmed between the trans-Atlantic allies since US President Donald Trump first announced plans to impose new import tariffs on European automobiles, his contempt for the bloc apparently hasn’t diminished much.
Trump recently took a swipe at the bloc, saying that it: “rips us off on trade, and we protect them with military”. While giving a speech at the conservative Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit, Trump went on to describe the EU’s trade policies toward the US as worse than China’s.
“The European Union is worse to us on trade than China… You know, a lot of us come from the European Union. We come from Europe — our grandparents, our great-grandparents. So you think, ‘Oh, isn’t that nice?’ Except, they kill us — the European Union. It was formed to beat us economically, and yet we protect them with NATO”, Trump lamented.
During the rant, Trump also accused the European Union of “not paying their bills” for US military protection.
“They rip us off on trade. They have trade barriers that make it impossible for certain groups, like farmers and others, to go in. They rip us on trade, and then we protect them and they rip us on that too. And they don’t pay their bills. Other than that, it’s a wonderful deal”, he said while noting that his administration was in the process of “getting it straightened out”.
Trump went on to label Germany as the blocs “biggest offender”, criticizing it for failing to meet NATO’s 2 percent of GDP target.
“Germany doesn’t want to pay. They’re supposed to pay 2 percent. They’re paying 1 percent. And I say, ‘You got to pay, Angela. You got to pay, Angela. Please pay, Angela”, Trump said.
A tariff spat between the EU and the US broke out in 2018 after the Trump administration decided to impose higher taxes on steel and aluminum imports coming from the bloc. Trump later threatened in May that he would place tariffs on specific imported vehicles and parts which he said were threats to “national security”. As of now, the plan is currently on hold.
In response to Trump’s threats, the EU has revealed its own plan to counter potential US tariffs on EU cars – namely extra duties of up to 35 billion euros on US goods.