The Latest: Auto trade group decries Trump’s tariff threat

In this Wednesday, June 20, 2018, photo, Catoctin Creek Distillery whiskey is on display in the tasting room in Purcellville, Va. The European Union on Friday will start taxing a range of U.S. imports, including Harley-Davidson bikes, cranberries, peanut butter, playing cards and whiskey. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) –The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on America’s disputes with its trading partners (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

A trade association representing a dozen automakers doing business in the United States says President Donald Trump’s threat to slap 20 percent tariffs on vehicles imported from Europe is “not the right approach.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says in a statement that it understands that the administration is trying to level the playing field but that “tariffs raise vehicle prices for our customers, limit consumer choice and invite retaliatory action by our trading partners.”

The group, whose members include European automakers BMW, Volkswagen, Jaguar-Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo, says automakers favor reducing trade barriers and “achieving fairness through facilitating rather than inhibiting trade.”

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11:55 a.m.

Germany’s powerful auto lobby group is warning against an escalation of the trade dispute with the United States after President Donald Trump’s latest threat to raise tariffs on imported cars.

The German Association of the Automotive Industry cautions that “a further escalation of the trade dispute helps nobody.”

It says in a statement: “The German auto industry calls for continued talks with the United States, despite the current difficult situation, in order to strengthen trans-Atlantic relations and solve existing problems.”

It adds that a trans-Atlantic agreement that conforms to the rules of the World Trade Organization “could be a possible pathway.”

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10:44 a.m.

President Donald Trump is threatening to slap a 20 percent tariff on cars from the European Union.

In a tweet Friday, Trump complains about EU trade barriers and vowed “if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!”

The EU has just slapped tariffs on $3.4 billion in U.S. products, ranging from bourbon to motorcycles, in retaliation for Trump’s decision to tax imported steel and tariffs.

Trump has already directed U.S. trade officials to study whether auto imports pose a threat to national security that would justify hitting them with tariffs or quotas.