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Trump’s trump card: What talks in Washington for VW, BMW and Daimler ???


For months now, the German automotive industry has been trembling with high special tariffs threatening US President Donald Trump. Now, German auto giants send top officials to Washington to appease the US government. But the planned meeting encounters criticism.

Despite the recent rapprochement between the US and China, the trembling continues to escalate further in the trade dispute. In Germany and the EU, especially the threat of US President Donald Trump to impose high tariffs on cars, provides for nervousness. The speech is potentially 25 percent – in addition to the previously applicable import restrictions. Now top managers of the German industry giants Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler travel to Washington for talks. But the car summit is controversial.

The German car manufacturer, however, expect a lot from the meeting on Tuesday. For them, the punitive tariffs threatened by Trump would be an immense burden. The managers therefore want to give the representatives of the US government a lenient voice by clarifying the significance of the corporations for the local economy. VW, BMW and Daimler operate large factories in the US and have also expanded their production there in recent years vigorously.

What is Trump’s Government hoping for through this appointment?

In order to dissuade Trump’s team from higher import barriers, carmakers should not only emphasize their existing US presence, but also throw confessions in the form of planned future investments into the balance. Thus, the VW Group Trump recently made further hope for a production facility for electric cars. BMW had already stressed the option to re-examine the option for an engine factory in the USA. That’s why Trump tweeted on Thursday: „Car companies are aiming for the US, including BMW, which recently announced a new plant.

The meeting, convened at the invitation of Washington, is a way for the US government to put pressure on the negotiating partners in Germany and Europe in the trade dispute over gang pressure. President Trump hopes German carmakers are pushing the government through their lobby in Berlin to speed up the transatlantic talks on a trade deal between the EU and the US, a US official told the Wall Street Journal. The president does not want to increase tariffs, but Brussels does not stir, so he could use a lever.

It remains to be seen whether Trump will honor himself personally at the meeting. According to information from the German Press Agency, talks are currently being held with Minister of Economic Affairs Wilbur Ross and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. From Germany, the bosses of VW and Daimler, Herbert Diess and Dieter Zetsche, and BMW CFO Nicolas Peter are expected.

The car summit is controversial

The CEOs have no jurisdiction over trade issues between states, so the meeting in Berlin and Brussels is viewed very critically. It is feared that the Trump government will thwart the EU’s line through deal deals with companies and try to play off the European partners against each other. „It should be negotiated with government representatives and not with interest groups,“ said the President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Dennis Snower, the Handelsblatt .

Bernd Lange, head of the Trade Committee in the European Parliament, is also one of the critics: „Everyone is interested in the US government not imposing tariffs on European brands.“ However, it must be clear where the competencies in trade policy are located, said the SPD politician of the Stuttgarter Zeitung and the Stuttgarter Nachrichten . The trade policy is communitarian, interlocutors the EU: „Deals at the level of motorists with the President are not appropriate.“ Something similar can be heard from the environment of EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström.