‘All we have to do is tax their cars’

President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters as he meets with Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, August 20, 2019.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Donald Trump believes he has quite the bargaining chip with the European Union.

“Dealing with the European Union is very difficult; they drive a high bargain,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “We have all the cards in this country because all we have to do is tax their cars and they’d give us anything we wanted because they send millions of Mercedes over. They send millions of BMWs over.”

The threat came after Trump signed a deal with the EU earlier this month to boost U.S. beef exports, which partially relieved American farmers who have taken a big hit from the intensified trade war with China. Annual duty-free U.S. beef exports to the EU are expected to nearly triple to $420 million as a result of the deal.

The president had vowed to impose tariffs on imported vehicles and parts from the EU and Japan earlier this year but he decided to delay the duty for 180 days in mid-May.

Trump is set to meet leaders from the EU at the G-7 summit this weekend in France. Many expect the summit to end without a joint communique due to differences on trade.

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