Trump threatens tariff on all European cars

Trump threatens tariff on all European cars

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump directed Cohen to lie to Congress about plans to build Trump Tower in Moscow during 2016 campaign: report DC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees 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 RossTrump cancels delegation's trip to Davos amid shutdown Trump administration to appeal ruling against 2020 census citizenship question READ: Federal judge's ruling against Trump administration's push for 2020 census citizenship question 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 CohnOn The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction Gary Cohn criticizes the shutdown: 'Completely wrong' Ocasio-Cortez rips presence of lobbyists at orientation event 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.