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EU will retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs: trade official

The European Union is prepared to retaliate if US President Donald Trump imposes new tariffs on auto imports, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom warned on Wednesday.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom met with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (pictured March 2018) to work out details of more open trade between the major global economies but she said there was no deadline for reaching an agreement
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom met with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer (pictured March 2018) to work out details of more open trade between the major global economies but she said there was no deadline for reaching an agreement (POOL/AFP)

The European Union is prepared to retaliate if US President Donald Trump imposes new tariffs on auto imports, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom warned on Wednesday.

Malmstrom met with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to work out details of more open trade between the major global economies but she said there was no deadline for reaching an agreement.

Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed in July to hold off on any new tariffs while negotiations are underway.

The EU has already retaliated against the United States earlier this year for the steep and "deeply unjustified" tariffs Trump imposed on steel and aluminum and would do so again if Trump goes ahead with measures against autos, she said.

"The EU has a retaliation tariffs list ready if the US imposes autos tariffs on the EU," she told reporters following her meeting with Lighthizer.

The Commerce Department was expected to report to the White House on whether auto tariffs are justified to protect US national security.

Malmstrom also said she had warned Lighthizer that the move would jeopardize jobs in the auto sector.

Ongoing talks with the United States are aimed at increasing regulatory cooperation to ease trade in soybeans, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other sectors, she said.

"We are not really negotiating anything with the Americans. We are talking about how to facilitate in regulatory standards," she said.

She reiterated that agriculture will not be part of a trade negotiation.