President Donald Trump, expressing his ire over trade imbalances this weekend, made a peculiar choice: He focused his criticism on two European brands, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, that have significant investments in two of the nation’s most Trump-friendly states.
“Open up the barriers and get rid of your tariffs,” Trump said of the European Union’s trade policies in a wide-ranging and rollicking address in Pennsylvania Saturday. “And if you don’t do that, we’re going to tax Mercedes-Benz, we’re going to tax BMW.”.. Trump’s latest attacks, meant to stir up populist enthusiasm, could backfire politically if they instead spur fears that jobs in Trump country might be in jeopardy... Trump likely hopes tariffs on European car imports would spur the German companies to make more vehicles in the U.S. But he said the unpredictability of Trump’s trade policies would more likely have the opposite effect... “A countervailing factor would be a reluctance of the Germans to ‘reward’ this behavior, especially if it’s unclear where trade policy is going,” Ikenson told POLITICO. “His unorthodox and sometimes erratic behavior ultimately discourages investment in the United States.”.. “Should we get tariff walls, it would have an impact on jobs in the United States,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger said last week.. “China wins when we fight with Europe,” Graham said. “China wins when the American consumer has higher prices because of tariffs that don’t affect Chinese behavior.”