Trump threatens tariff on all European cars

Trump threatens tariff on all European cars

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE on Friday threatened to place a 20 percent tariff on all European cars entering the United States.

The threat, which the president has made before, illustrates the escalating rhetoric in Trump's approach to international trade.

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Trump last week made good on a promise to punish China for its trade practices, announcing he would impose tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

This week, Trump further raised concerns of a trade war by asking his trade representative to evaluate another round of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products, a move that followed China's retaliatory measure against the United States.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet House poised to hold Barr, Ross in contempt Ross in Trump's crosshairs after census loss: report MORE told lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week that the administration is just beginning an investigation to determine whether foreign autos and auto parts threaten national security. 

Earlier this week, German automakers suggested ending auto tariffs between the U.S. and the EU. 

Gary CohnGary David CohnPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank 'I alone can fix it,' Trump said, but has he? The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions MORE, Trump’s former top economic adviser, said last week the president had expressed an interest in only having cars in the U.S. that were made here.

“I think he’s going about it in a way where he says, ‘Look I want to grow the economy. Therefore, I don’t want cars made oversees. I want all the cars made in the United States,'” Cohn told The Washington Post.

Cohn said he understands Trump’s rationale, but added that restricting vehicles to ones made in the U.S. is not realistic.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t understand where he’s coming from. He’s saying, ‘Look, I want cars made in the United States. We make great cars in the United States,'” Cohn explained.

“He’s right, we make great cars in the United States. Why would we import a car when if we make more cars in the United States we create more factories, more jobs, more revenue, more taxable income? We broaden the base. It’s kind of simple,” he added.

Many foreign automakers, including BMW and Volkswagen, already build their cars on U.S. shores, and more companies are planning new facilities here. 

—Vicki Needham contributed. Updated at 12:20 p.m.