Macron talks to Trump, says tariffs unlawful and a mistake

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According to the German publication, which says its report results from talking to several unnamed U.S. and European diplomats, during French President Macron's recent visit to Washington Trump told him that he would "maintain his trade policy until no Mercedes models rolled on Fifth Avenue in NY".

Berlin has also reacted angrily to a USA vehicle imports investigation, which could lead to tariffs of up to 25 percent on the same "national security" grounds that Washington used to impose metals duties in March.

Daimler, BMW and Audi declined comment. Shares of Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen were all trading off around 1 percent on the news.

Trump and Republicans in Congress are preparing to clash over the proposed tariffs, which could be up to 25 percent.

Last year, the auto sector accounted for almost 29 billion ($34 billion) of Germany's 111.5 billion euros in exports to the U.S., according to figures from the Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK).

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The Trump administration last week launched a Section 232 trade investigation into vehicle imports. However, the German luxury auto foothold in the United States is tremendous.

"E.U. passenger-car imports from the United States were worth €6.2 billion (US$7.3 billion) a year ago, while the bloc's USA exports topped €37 billion (US$43.1 billion)", said the newswire.

Berlin has reacted angrily to the US vehicle imports investigation, but the head of Germany's BDI industry association Dieter Kempf on Thursday called for prudence in the growing trade tensions between the European Union and the United States.

The phone call between the French president and his United States counterpart came after the USA announced the steep metals tariffs would be imposed on the European Union, Canada and Mexico as of midnight (0400 GMT Friday). Reuters reported that German magazine Wirtschaftswoche's article cited several unnamed European and U.S. diplomats but did not include any direct quotes.

BMW sold 73,835 cars and light trucks in the United States in the first quarter.

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