European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met September 10, following back-and-forth between the two entities concerning auto tariffs. Although the meeting was a step in the right direction, the United States has yet to accept the European Union’s offer to eliminate all auto tariffs—but it should.
Currently, the United States imposes a 25-percent tariff on light trucks and pickups, as well as a 2.5 percent tariff on smaller cars. The European Union imposes a 10-percent tariff on all passenger vehicles.
Malmstrom told European Parliament lawmakers recently that the European Union would be “willing to bring down even our car tariffs to zero, all tariffs to zero, if the US does the same.”
To that, President Trump responded, “It’s not good enough. Their consumer habits are to buy their cars, not to buy our cars.”
From White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, to Lighthizer to President Trump, the administration has repeatedly emphasized its goal of “zero tariffs.” Accepting Malmstrom’s offer would mark a significant step toward achieving that goal.
Lighthizer’s office did note that the September 10 meeting was “constructive,” and officials are slated to meet next month to advance talks. A potential agreement could be finalized in November.
While the administration continues to hold on again, off again conversations with its trade partners, American businesses, workers, and consumers continue to face hardships caused by tariffs. Tariffs and other trade restrictions represent a tax on consumers, businesses and consumers, limiting economic opportunity and stifling growth. Already tariffs have caused many Americans to lose their jobs or take cuts in their hours. And many American businesses were not prepared for the negative impacts.
Constructive meetings and congressional action are steps in the right direction — but Americans are still waiting for the administration to diffuse the trade war and aggressively pursue zero tariffs through positive negotiations. Kudlow told CNBC that the administration “might” ultimately accept the European Union’s offer to eliminate all auto tariffs. Sooner would be better. It should do so immediately and keep working toward its zero-tariff goal.
This blog post by Freedom Partners originally appeared here.