Auto stocks in Europe spiked on Friday after the European Union’s top trade spokesperson claimed Brussels was willing to scrap tariffs on all industrial products, including cars.
“We are willing to bring down even our car tariffs to zero, all tariffs to zero, if the U.S. does the same,” Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told European Parliament lawmakers.
Malmstrom’s claim goes further than an agreement in July between President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that said the two sides would work to eliminate tariffs on non-auto industrial goods.
European automotive stocks initially jumped on the news but by 3:30 p.m. London time (10:30 a.m. ET), the sector had given up all of its earlier gains.
Earlier in her presentation, Malmstrom had revealed details of the conversation between the U.S. and EU delegations on July 25.
“We said that we are ready from the EU side to go to zero tariffs on all industrial goods, of course if the U.S. does the same, so it would be on a reciprocal basis,” Malmstrom told the European Parliament’s trade committee.
At present, America imposes a 25 percent duty on light trucks and pickups and 2.5 percent on smaller autos. The EU imposes a flat 10 percent tariff.
Auto stocks in Europe have struggled in 2018 as investors feared Trump would follow through on a June tweet that stipulated that if the EU does not remove duties on U.S. cars, then the U.S. will have no choice but to impose a 20 percent tariff of its own.
Reporters asked the European Commission to clarify Malmstrom’s comments, but at the time of publication had received no reply.