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ACEA still opposes US-proposed anti-WTO trade rules

By Graeme Roberts | 20 May 2019

ACEA, representing the European auto industry, "strongly disputes that automotive imports from the European Union pose a national security risk to the US"

ACEA, representing the European auto industry, "strongly disputes that automotive imports from the European Union pose a national security risk to the US"

The European Automobile Manufacturers' Association (ACEA) on Monday (20 May) reiterated its "opposition to any trade-restrictive measures that are incompatible with WTO rules".

It was reacting to last Friday's declaration by US president Trump on the imports of cars and parts into the United States.

Trump officially set a six-month deadline to negotiate national security issues with respect to imported automobiles and certain automobile parts from the European Union, Japan and any other country the US Trade Representative deems appropriate.

In a statement, ACEA said: "The president's statement confirms that US authorities consider auto imports and certain auto parts as a threat to their national security. The decision to impose any measures has been delayed by up to 180 days. During this time the EU and Japan are encouraged to reach an agreement with the US on measures that would limit their exports of automobiles and auto parts to the country.

"ACEA strongly disputes that automotive imports from the European Union pose a national security risk to the United States."

"Europe's auto makers favour a trade-positive agenda," said ACEA secretary general, Erik Jonnaert.

"We support the European Commission's constructive efforts to address tariff and non-tariff barriers to transatlantic trade in automotive goods.

"Unilaterally imposed additional tariffs or quotas, on the other hand, would clearly violate WTO rules. They are therefore not acceptable as a solution to the current dispute."

ACEA said the US report on the national security investigation failed to recognise the "massive investments by the European auto industry into the US economy".

"Indeed," ACEA added, "EU-owned auto makers built more than 3m vehicles in the United States last year, accounting for 27% of total US production.

"Many of these vehicles are exported to third countries again, including the European Union. EU car manufacturers directly and indirectly employ nearly half a million Americans."

ACEA said it hopes negotiators on both sides of the Atlantic would "use this additional time to find common ground on a trade deal that removes industrial tariffs".