Although the summit focuses on national security, he may also use the session to press his case that European Union nations are using 10% tariffs on automobiles to protect their market from U.S. vehicle exports.The Commerce Department has started a trade investigation to see whether car imports undermine U.S. national security, a process that takes months but could ultimately lead to the imposition of tariffs.The U.S. already has hit European nations with tariffs over their steel exports to the U.S., again citing a national-security rationale, but a senior administration official said the timing of the new tariffs on China was coincidental. Mr. Trump, in the
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latest move, was simply carrying through on a prior warning that he would assess new tariffs if Beijing retaliated against the initial round of levies.Mr. Trump “values the relationship we have with European allies,” the official said. “He has made clear the importance of working together with Europe on unfair Chinese practices.”U.S. officials have said, for instance, that they are working with European nations to put together investment screening procedures for Chinese and other foreign investments to see if they endanger national security, similar to the work of the U.S. interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.But U.S. industry officials said the tariffs were bound to be seen as a signal to Europe that the U.S. wouldn’t back away from a trade fight. It also could be a specific warning to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who this week met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Berlin.Both leaders reiterated their commitment to multilateral rules, which was seen as a jab at the U.S.
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