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Trump's tariffs' threats chill German auto quarters

By Abdulnasser Jebara BERLIN, Feb 19 (KUNA) -- Economic and political quarters have been preoccupied with worries due to US President Donald Trump's intentions to enforce much higher fees on imported European vehicles and auto parts.
Chairman of Germany's auto industry association VDA, Bernhard Matis, said Trump's planned move would lead to negative repercussions, not only on the European car industry, but also on the parallel American sector.
"Such punitive tariffs will .. inflict damage in global commerce and will be a heavy burden on the German car companies and the American ones, first," he said.
He expressed "understanding" of a statement by the US commerce department, considering the European cars "a threat to the US national security," however he called for lowering the fees on exchanged goods, rather than imposing new taxes.
The German Government has declared its adherence to dialogue with Washington for sake of reaching a settlement, while the Prime Minister of Bavaria, Markus Soder, called the American threats "absurd." "The German cars do not pose a threat to the American national security .. They rather boost safety standards on streets in America," he says.
Steffen Seibert, spokesperson of the German Government, affirmed that the leadership would favor dialogue with Washington to tackle the issue and denied the allegations that cars imported from Europe "pose a threat to the national security of the United States." Trump, since his election, has been repeatedly pledging to lower the trade deficit with the other industrial powers. After his election, he stated that there must 35 percent fees on any imported car.
Currently, the US imposes 2.5 percent tariffs on the imported cars -- compared to 10 percent levied by the European Union on autos imported from America.
The American market is one of the most important one for the German car manufacturers.
German manufacturers produced 16.5 million cars, including 5.1 million made in Germany, last year, during which 16.5 million cars were sold by the German companies to the American market. (end) anj.rk