Trump, E.U. announce deal to avert escalation of trade tensions

  • The E.U. charges a 10 percent tariff on imports of U.S. automobiles, and the United States has a
  • 2.5 percent tariff on European cars.
  • The United States also charges a 25 percent tariff on light truck and SUV imports from other countries.

.. The disharmony within the White House is spilling into public view, something that appears to be bothering Trump. On Wednesday, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said at a CNBC event that he and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow were at odds with others on how to proceed on trade but that Trump made the ultimate decisions on his own.

.. A tweet suggests Trump is irked by people questioning his approach.

“When you have people snipping at your heels during a negotiation, it will only take longer to make a deal, and the deal will never be as good as it could have been with unity,” he wrote Wednesday . “Negotiations are going really well, be cool. The end result will be worth it!”

European leaders are indignant and defiant over Trump’s G-7 statement. But they’re not surprised.

“By portraying him as the naughty boy in the room, he will stick even more to his behavior and it will get worse,” said Röttgen, who is a member of Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union. “We have to ignore his behavior and concentrate on what is left of the substance of the transatlantic relationship.”

.. But Röttgen derived at least some hope from Trump’s proposal for entirely tariff-free trade among allies. Although Trump coupled the idea with a threat, and most experts see the notion as far-fetched, Röttgen said it is at least a basis for discussion.

.. Germany has the most to lose from a trade war with the United States. The United States had a $151 billion trade deficit in goods with the European Union last year. Germany alone, with its high-end automobile and appliance exports, accounted for $64 billion of that.

.. there were signs among otherwise frustrated allied leaders that they see Trump and his “America First” agenda as an aberration and not necessarily as expressive of a new reality.

Macron emphasized his belief that Trump’s vision of America was at odds with American values.

.. Trump allies allegedly told the Telegraph newspaper that the U.S. president had grown weary of May’s “schoolmistress tone.”

.. Trump had called for Russia to be readmitted into the G-7 group, much to the dismay of leaders of Germany, Britain and France.

.. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte

.. said on Twitter that Russia’s return to the group was “in the interests of everybody.”

.. “every move made by the premier has been conceived so as to break the European front and attempt to build an anti-EU axis with Trump.”

Trump’s Manchurian Trade Policy

Remember “The Manchurian Candidate”? The 1959 novel, made into a classic 1962 film (never mind the remake), involved a plot to install a Communist agent as president of the United States. One major irony was that the politician in question was modeled on Senator Joe McCarthy — that is, he posed as a superpatriot even while planning to betray America.

.. Both the international rules and domestic law — Article XXI and Section 232, respectively — let the U.S. government do pretty much whatever it wants in the name of national security.

.. If the U.S. or any other major player began promiscuously using dubious national security arguments to abrogate trade agreements, everyone else would follow suit, and the whole trading system would fall apart.

.. But Trump is different. He has already imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum in the name of national security, and he is now threatening to do the same for autos.

.. The idea that imported cars pose a national security threat is absurd. We’re not about to refight World War II, converting auto plants over to the production of Sherman tanks. And almost all the cars we import come from U.S. allies. Clearly, Trump’s invocation of national security is a pretext

.. the proposed auto tariffs would further undermine our allies’ rapidly eroding faith in U.S. trustworthiness.

.. Which is not to say that national security should never be a consideration in international trade. On the contrary, there’s a very clear-cut case right now: the Chinese company ZTE, which makes cheap phones and other electronic goods.

.. Yet Trump is pulling out all the stops in an effort to reverse actions against ZTE, in defiance of lawmakers from both parties.

.. China approved a huge loan to a Trump-related project in Indonesia just before rushing to ZTE’s defense; at the same time, China granted valuable trademarks to Ivanka Trump. And don’t say that it’s ridiculous to suggest that Trump can be bribed; everything we know about him says that yes, he can.

.. what we’re getting is Manchurian trade policy: a president using obviously fake national security arguments to hurt democratic allies, while ignoring very real national security concerns to help a hostile dictatorship.

Trump Tariffs May Threaten U.S. Auto Jobs, European Executives Warn

Raising duties on imported cars could prove trickier than on steel and aluminum imports

Volkswagen AG , BMW AG and Daimler AG, which makes Mercedes—have built factories in the U.S. and Mexico in recent years that are geared to export to Europe and China, not just to sell to Americans.

The German manufacturers employ around 36,500 Americans at their factories in South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. If U.S. exports face retaliatory tariffs and it becomes more difficult or uncompetitive to export cars from the U.S., European auto makers would likely have to shift those jobs to Mexico or bring them back to Europe.

.. Fears of a global trade war is leading Volvo Cars Corp., the Chinese-owned Swedish auto maker, to reconsider the scope of a new plant that it is building near Charleston, S.C

.. “If the factory in South Carolina could not export, it would be half the size. It would not employ 4,000 people anymore but just 2,000,”

.. Steven Armstrong, president of Ford’s European business, dismissed Mr. Trump’s claims that American auto makers were blocked from selling cars in Europe.

“He obviously hasn’t seen our booth this morning,” Mr. Armstrong said on the sidelines of the Geneva Motor Show. “If the product fits the market, consumers will buy it.”