Germany urges EU to brace for US tariffs


European Union member states should brace for US tariffs on several fronts in the coming months, a senior German official said late on Tuesday, following meetings with US officials and lawmakers in Washington. Peter Beyer, a German lawmaker and Germany’s transatlantic coordinator, said there was continued US interest in dialogue with Europe, but the Trump administration appeared poised to impose tariffs over disputes about aircraft subsidies, the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline and European car imports.
President Donald Trump said in May some imported vehicles and parts posed a national security threat,  but postponed a decision for as long as six months on imposing tariffs on European and Japanese auto imports to allow time for trade talks with both partners. European officials fear that Trump will now turn his attention to Europe, after brokering a truce in a protracted trade battle with China. The issue will be high on the agenda when German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier visits Washington this week.
Beyer, who met with officials from the US Trade Representative’s office and the White House, as well as US lawmakers, said the car tariffs were likely in mid-November, given growing US impatience with the European Union and its refusal to include agriculture in broader trade talks. When it comes to the car tariffs, I unfortunately think they are more likely than not to be imposed in mid-November. There is quite a lot of impatience on the US side. But that also requires us on the European side to be strong and unified.
Beyer said the US government appeared interested in resolving a series of disputes between the United States and the EU before the World Trade Organization (WTO) over aircraft subsidies, but was unlikely to refrain from imposing tariffs in the interim.
The WTO arbitrator decision is expected soon, as early as next week. I fully expect the Trump administration to impose tariffs.

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