The European Union is ready for a trade war with the United States, according to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.
“We are not afraid, we will stand up to the bullies,” said Malmstrom in response to threats of trade tariffs against the EU by US President Donald Trump.
According to Malmstrom, the Trump administration is using trade “to threaten and intimidate” Europeans, and that trade has become “a scapegoat.”
The EU hinted at a trade war with America. “If anyone starts throwing stones, it’s better first make sure he’s not living in a glass house,” the European Commission said in a statement.
After imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Trump threatened that the next measure could be European cars. The EU said it could impose penalties on around €2.8 billion ($3.4 billion) of imported US goods, from motorcycles to peanut butter.
“Open up the barriers and get rid of your tariffs, and if you don’t do that we’re going to tax Mercedes Benz, we’re going to tax BMWs. Cars are the big money item,” the US president said on Sunday.
The decision to tax German cars could be unwise since German producers employ 36,500 people in the US, plus 80,000 jobs at German suppliers, Bernhard Mattes, president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry, told the Financial Times.
Trump added that European countries are banding together to “screw the US” on trade.
“With the EU we’re like $100 billion down on trade because we had stupid politicians,” he said.
The US president said that Brussels uses “artificial barriers” to prevent American products from reaching the continent.