US President Donald J. Trump plans to ban all German luxury car imports to the United States, according to German media reports on May 31.
The notoriously chauvinistic and isolationist Trump apparently warned French President Emmanuel Macron of his intentions during the latter’s official visit to the White House in April. He apparently told Macron that he no longer wanted to see Mercedes-Benz cars driving down Fifth Avenue in New York.
The Euro-Atlantic allies are facing a major trade war after Trump announced that he would slap harsh tariffs on EU steel and aluminium imports after an earlier exemption for Europe expired on June 1.
The US Department of Commerce has, however, taken the liberty to launch an investigation to determine whether car imports undermine US national security.
Aside from playing to his nationalist populist base, it remains an open question as to what Trump’s ultimate goal is with the ban as the majority of German car manufacturers, including Mercedez-Benz, Volkswagen, and BMW – already produce their cars in the United States.
Trump’s expected announcement has had the knock-on effect of hitting hard German car manufacturers’ valuation on the European stock markets.