President Donald Trump reportedly plans to impose 25 percent tariffs on about $200 billion worth of foreign cars imported into the U.S. despite warnings from lawmakers and advisers who fear the consequences of yet another escalation in a mounting trade war.
According to The Washington Post, three people familiar with internal discussions at the White House say the president’s top economic advisers expect Trump to move forward with the plan, but many are trying to dissuade him from taking such a drastic step.
The news comes as European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker visits the White House to discuss potential trade deals aimed at alleviating tensions between the U.S. and the European Union.
Juncker is expected to propose measures to lower tariffs on all major auto-exporting countries as well as a more focused deal to halt tariffs between the U.S. and the EU on industrial products like cars, reports The Post.
Should the deals fall through, however, EU trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, said the EU is prepared to levy tariffs on $20 billion of U.S. goods if the Trump administration moves forward with previously announced auto tariffs.
But many lawmakers and officials have voiced their opposition to more tariffs, arguing that Trump’s trade policies could harm the economy and American consumers.
“There are some in the economic community who view this as the bright line,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a Republican and former director of the Congressional Budget Office. Holtz-Eakin warned that many GOP lawmakers have said that if Trump moves forward with the new tariffs, they will no longer “support the president any more. They are done.”
The reports also come as Trump works to ease the burden on U.S. farmers facing foreign tariffs on their goods in response to the administration’s aggressive trade policies.
Several Republican lawmakers have criticized the White House’s plan to extend temporary aid to farmers.
Tariffs are taxes that punish American consumers and producers. If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers — the answer is remove the tariffs.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 24, 2018
But as Trump affirms that he’s not backing down on trade negotiations, all signs point to a mounting conflict on the world economic stage.