Brussels readies $20 billion in tariffs on US goods ahead of meeting with Trump

Brussels readies $20 billion in tariffs on US goods ahead of meeting with Trump
The European Union could introduce a new wave of tariffs against imports from the US if Washington targets European cars, according to the EU’s trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom.

The announcement comes hours ahead of a meeting between the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday. They will reportedly discuss a wide range of issues, including trade relations which have become tense recently.

Malmstrom warned the White House against imposing a 20 percent tariff on cars imported from the EU, in an interview with the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter. The official said that the bloc is ready to introduce new counter-tariffs on $20 billion worth of the US imports.

Malmstrom added that Brussels was not planning to punish specific US states, but would apply the levies to general items, including agriculture, machinery and high-tech goods.

The issue had been previously commented on by Alexander Winterstein, a spokesperson for the European Commission, who stressed that the results of talks with Donald Trump are impossible to predict.

“If tariffs were to be imposed then we need to take countermeasures and we are ready for that, we are ready to act immediately and we are ready to react adequately,” Winterstein said.

So far, the EU has introduced tariffs worth $3.3 billion against US products. The step came in response to an earlier decision by the White House to impose 25 and 10 percent tariffs on steel and aluminum imports to the US from Europe.

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