Trade War Heats Up as EU Vows to Retaliate on U.S. Auto Tariffs

The European Union vowed prompt retaliation if the U.S. follows through on a threat to impose tariffs on imported vehicles, as trans-Atlantic trade tensions showed no signs of easing.

If European exports are hit by U.S. actions, the EU will “react in a swift and adequate manner,” Margaritis Schinas, a spokesman for the European Commission, told reporters in Brussels on Monday — a day after President Donald Trump received a report on the national-security implications posed by auto imports.

The EU has prepared tariffs on a total of 20 billion euros ($23 billion) in U.S. goods should Trump follow through on his threat, which would chiefly hit Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel gave an impassioned defense of the country’s car industry to an audience of senior security officials in Munich over the weekend, calling the Trump administration’s suggestion that European autos are a threat to U.S. security a “shock.”