BERLIN — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will head to Washington next week with proposals to stave off the introduction of import tariffs on cars, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday.
Juncker is set to meet President Donald Trump on Wednesday as the U.S. considers whether to impose trade tariffs on vehicles and auto parts.
“He will be making suggestions there about how we can enter into a discussion process to avoid this,” Merkel said at her annual summer press conference. Juncker will “present possibilities for discussion” to the U.S. president, Merkel said.
Trump has threatened to slap a 25 percent tariff on imported cars and components, with a commerce department review underway to establish whether this is justified on national security grounds.
“Im not filling myself with expectations or predictions,” Merkel said in reference to Junckers trip.
German carmakers like BMW produce hundreds of thousands of vehicles each year in the U.S., with around 60 percent of output exported.
While the EU has threatened countermeasures on U.S. goods if the Trump administration moves ahead with tariffs, that would be the “worst solution,” Merkel said.
She called for a multilateral approach to resolve the trade stand-off, citing the global response to the financial crisis in 2008. Tariffs on auto components and vehicles would be “potentially damaging to the prosperity of many countries,” she said.
“We do not want these tariffs,” said Merkel. “We believe that it will do damage to both sides — not only will we in the European Union will be hurt, but that there will be wider impacts.”
Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva on Friday told reporters the meeting will be a “first opportunity to exchange views between Presidents Trump and Juncker.”
Andreeva said to “stay tuned for what might be happening — or not.”
Gabriela Galindo contributed reporting.