Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne is calling on political leaders in the United States and European Union to stay calm and exercise critical thinking as US President Donald Trump considers slapping a 10-percent tariff on imported aluminum and a 25-percent tariff on imported steel, stoking fears of a trade war. The move might lead to higher commodities prices in the United States, some opponents argue, forcing new vehicle MSRPs higher and adversely affecting domestic sales of US-made automobiles.
What’s more, Trump has threatened imposing a 25-percent tariff on imported European cars if European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker makes good on his threat to impose retaliatory tariffs on American-made items like blue jeans, bourbon, and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, never one to keep quiet, called Jean-Claude Juncker’s threats of retaliatory tariffs “an unnecessarily childish reaction,” Motor Trend reports. At the Geneva Motor Show this week, the 65-year-old executive said that he thinks “everyone should just be very quiet for a couple of days, recollect their brain cells, and then sit down at the table and argue this thing out intelligently, without letting tempers and rhetoric get in the way.”
“It is undoubtedly true that Washington has an issue with the trade policy that was put in place by previous administrations,” Sergio Marchionne went on to say, referring to the slim, 2.5-percent import duty currently placed on European-made cars in the US. In the EU, American-made automobiles are taxed at quadruple the rate: 10 percent. “President Trump and his administration are trying to rectify this thing in a way they think protects American interests. You may disagree with that statement, but that’s the view. It’s no use to just ignore it, or threaten retaliation. It won’t work.”
According to Motor Trend, Marchionne said that the US President is “dead serious” about proposed actions that he perceives as protective of American workers. “People who are involved in NAFTA” renegotiations are discovering that, he said. “We need to take it seriously.”