Nov 14, 2018 - Economy

EU trade chief: "We have not received any assurances" on U.S. auto tariffs

Member of the European Commission, Cecilia Malstrom attends a press conference

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström. Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström told reporters Wednesday that the EU has "not received any assurances" that the Trump administration won't implement auto tariffs, but said she is under the assumption that there will not be any new tariffs from either side — a commitment President Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to in July.

The big picture: Malmström, who met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington, D.C., today, said she believes auto tariffs would be harmful to both the U.S. and European economies, but added that the EU has a draft list of retaliatory tariffs that it's prepared to process if necessary. As Axios' Jonathan Swan reported, Trump views the threat of auto tariffs as his best leverage over negotiating partners. He has privately told aides that the threat of auto tariffs helped him get a better trade deal with Canada, and that the same could apply to the EU.

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