Merkel says she may support reduced EU tariffs on US car imports

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to the media after a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Berlin, Germany, July 5, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she may support an initiative to reduce European Union tariffs on US car imports as the bloc seeks to avoid more levies on its car exports.

Merkel said Thursday that the door was open for negotiations on how to handle tariffs with the US so that the EU could avoid a further deterioration of trade relations with Washington under President Donald Trump.

“I would be ready to support negotiations on reducing tariffs,” said Merkel, adding, “When we want to negotiate tariffs, on cars for example, we need a common European position and we are still working on it.”

The German chancellor said that any EU decision to cut tariffs on US vehicles should lead to reductions on levies imposed on the imports of cars from other countries.

“We would not be able to do this only with the US,” said Merkel, adding that the EU should observe requirements of the World Trade Organization in reducing the tariffs.

Merkel’s new gesture for cutting car tariffs comes amid an escalating trade disputes between the EU and the US.

The EU has introduced tariffs of 25 percent on a range of US goods to compensate for Trump’s controversial tariffs on European metals. Trump has warned that his administration may significantly increase tariffs on European-assembled cars if the EU steps up its retaliatory measures against his trade policies.

However, sources in the industry said that the US ambassador to Germany had told managers from major German car manufacturers at a meeting on Wednesday that if the EU scrapped duties on US cars imported into the bloc, Trump would abandon his threatened levies on European cars.

The EU currently maintains 10 percent tariffs on car imports from the United States while current US import tariff rates on cars are 2.5 percent and on trucks 25 percent.

This article provided by NewsEdge.