Trump’s Auto Tariffs Risk Targets Coronary heart of German Financial system – Bloomberg

U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to levy tariffs on imported vehicles aims at the heart of Germany’s export-led economy, further straining relations between the two long-standing allies.

While Trump didn’t specifically point to Germany when calling for an investigation into protections for the U.S. auto industry on national security grounds, he didn’t have to. Past statements have made clear that he resents the country’s trade surplus, which amounted to 14.2 billion euros ($16.7 billion) last year for Germany’s auto industry. That means any levies on imported autos stands to hit Volkswagen AG, BMW AG and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG especially hard. Shares of all three companies dropped.

“We have to consider this as something of a provocation,” said Eric Schweitzer, president of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which estimates that auto tariffs would burden the country’s economy to the tune of 6 billion euros a year. “I have the growing impression that the U.S. no longer believes in the competition of ideas, but only the law of power. It fills me with grave concern.”

‘Open the Barriers’

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