By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The European Union is preparing a target list of American products it will hit with punitive tariffs if the Trump administration goes through with its threat to impose tariffs on European auto imports, the bloc’s trade chief said Wednesday.
European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom reported no breakthroughs on resolving the auto dispute or the battle over tariffs the United States has already imposed on steel and aluminum imports.
Her comments came after a meeting in Washington on Wednesday with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Malmstrom said both sides are proceeding with an understanding reached in July between President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that neither side will impose new tariffs while talks are underway.
But she said the EU is developing a target list of American products should it be needed.
Malmstrom would not provide examples of targets that the EU might hit, saying that the list was still being reviewed by member EU countries. The EU has already imposed tariffs on $3.4 billion in American products — from whiskey and motorcycles to peanuts and cranberries — in retaliation for the tariffs on European steel and aluminum.
When those tariffs went into effect earlier in the year, Malmstrom acknowledged the EU had targeted some iconic American imports like Harley-Davidson motorcycles and bourbon to put pressure on U.S. leaders.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Malmstrom said she had told Lighthizer that a tit-for-tat trade war would be damaging to both Europe and the United States. She said “many jobs will be lost in the U.S.”
Malmstrom said the main focus of the discussions with Lighthizer involved looking for ways to lower regulatory barriers and enable EU countries to import more American products such as soybeans and liquefied natural gas.
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