Trump efforts to split EU "in vain" — European Commission Chief

Trump Names European Union a 'Foe' of US

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, whose members include General Motors Co, Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp, warned on the impact of the tariffs.

They are also facing higher prices after tariffs were imposed on aluminum and steel.

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., flanked by John Bozzella, president of Global Automakers, left, and Sen.

The bloc previously offered to open its markets wider to US imports, including cars, as part of a reciprocal but limited trade deal, but Washington rebuffed the proposal.

A study released by a US auto dealer group warned that the tariffs could cut USA auto sales by 2 million vehicles annually and cost more than 117,000 auto dealer jobs, or about 10 percent of the workforce.

The U.S. economy would contract by between US$6.4 billion and US$62.2 billion.

There are also deep fears USA levies would harm the overall Canadian and American economies because collateral damage would reach well beyond the critical, thriving auto sector.

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It estimated auto demand will fall by between 493,600 to two million vehicles, resulting in the loss of 82,000 to almost 750,000 auto manufacturing jobs losses. "Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news".

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday it was "too early" to say if the United States would impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported cars and parts, a suggestion that has been met with harsh criticism from the industry.

Besides the tariffs, the U.S. has threatened European companies with huge fines if they continue to operate in Iran, after Trump reimposed far-reaching sanctions while pulling out of the landmark 2015 deal on curbing Tehran's nuclear programme.

Ross's remarks came at the start of the public hearing on the proposed auto tariffs.

Canadian automotive leaders have warned the US tariffs would be devastating for the highly integrated North American industry and its supply chains, and would lead to large-scale layoffs on both sides of the border.

John Bozzella, who heads the Association of Global Automakers, which represents Honda Motor Co, Hyundai Motor Corp and other foreign automakers, said in his testimony prepared for Thursday that Commerce "so far has been unable to outline any theory explaining how the commercial production of cars and trucks is connected to US national security".

If he makes good on threats of 20 percent to 25 percent tariffs on autos and auto parts, it would be Trump's biggest yet, the Journal reported, adding America a year ago imported $176 billion of passenger cars, $36 billion of trucks, and $147 billion of auto components.

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