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Trump Reportedly Threatens To End German Car Sales, Calls Germans ‘Very Bad’

Trump Reportedly Threatens To End German Car Sales, Calls Germans ‘Very Bad’
After calling the Germans "very bad" for their trade surplus with the U.S., President Donald Trump has reportedly reignited tensions with his EU counterparts.
According to the German news magazine Der Spiegel, during a meeting with top EU leaders last week, the U.S. president reportedly vowed to block German car exports to the U.S.
"The Germans are bad, very bad," Trump said, according to participants in the room who spoke to Der Spiegel.
"See the millions of cars they sell in the U.S., terrible. We will stop this."
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the European Council President Donald Tusk, who both showed support for Germany, were reportedly present in the meeting where the comments were made.
Saying that the German reports were exaggerated, Juncker dismissed the claims last week itself and the White House has since pushed back on these media reports.
"He did not say that the Germans were behaving badly," Juncker told reporters in Sicily ahead of G-7 talks.
"He was not aggressive at all and anyway we have taken the defense of the Germans," he continued.
"I was making clear that the U.S. cannot compare their trade situation with individual member states of the European Union. They have to compare their performances with the global performances of the European Union, and I made it clear that the commission is charged with trade issues and not the member states."
Insisting that German imports have damaged the U.S. manufacturing industry, Trump has long voiced his frustrations with Germany's trade surplus with the U.S.
He threatened to slap a 35 percent tax on German auto parts in January.
"If you want to build cars in the world, then I wish you all the best. You can build cars for the United States, but for every car that comes to the USA, you will pay 35 percent tax," he said in an interview with German newspaper Bild.
When he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March, he also attempted to negotiate a bilateral trade deal with Germany. All deals with EU member countries must be made multilaterally, Merkel however insisted.
After China and the U.S., Germany is the third largest exporter in the world excluding the EU. Its trade surplus was 252 billion euros ($282.7 billion) in 2016.
Trump is into discussions with the EU and other world leaders on trade, defense and the environment and Trump's reported comments come as part those discussions.
Telling them that they must to more to meet their contribution targets, he also reportedly scolded NATO leader.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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