EU says it is willing to drop auto tariffs if US reciprocates

EU says it is willing to drop auto tariffs if US reciprocates
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The European Union's (EU) top trade official said Thursday that the EU would be willing to drop all tariffs on cars and other industrial products if the U.S. reciprocates by eliminating similar tariffs.

The European commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom told EU Parliament members in Brussels that EU countries are willing to reduce “car tariffs to zero, all tariffs to zero, if the U.S. does the same,” The New York Times reported Thursday. 

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“We would do it, if they do it. That remains to be seen,” she said.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE previously had said he was willing to completely eliminate tariffs on all automotive imports if the move was reciprocated.

Last week, however, Trump said at a rally in West Virginia that he would be willing to put a 25 percent tax on "every car that comes from the European Union."

“We’re going to put a 25 percent tax on every car that comes from the European Union into the United States,” the president said. “And I got a call. Mr. President, when can we meet? We’d like to see you. And they came in very respectfully; we’re working on a deal.”

Mamlstrom’s statements mark a steep concession, according to the Times.

The paper reported that the bloc's willingness to bargain with the U.S. over tariff agreements represents the detriment that such tariffs could pose for the EU — particularly Germany, which houses the continent's biggest economy. 

Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker last month announced a deal to begin resolving a dispute over tariffs and avoid a trade war.

Trump said in July that they would "resolve" the retaliatory tariffs as well as the steel and aluminum tariffs that he imposed on the EU in May.