Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Saturday continued to knock the European Union on trade, threatening EU automakers, as the key bloc of US allies press for an exemption to his tariff package.
Trump hits EU on trade days after imposing new tariffs
"The European Union, wonderful countries who treat the U.S. very badly on trade, are complaining about the tariffs on Steel & Aluminum. If they drop their horrific barriers & tariffs on U.S. products going in, we will likewise drop ours. Big Deficit. If not, we Tax Cars etc. FAIR!" Trump tweeted.
The tweet was one of several Trump sent on trade, mixed in with claims about negotiations with North Korea and a special election in Pennsylvania, where Trump is scheduled to campaign at Saturday evening.
Trump on Friday tweeted that he had spoken with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and said there was an agreement in the works to avoid steel and aluminum tariffs on the key US ally whose leader Trump has clashed with in the past.
"Spoke to PM @TurnbullMalcolm of Australia. He is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship. Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don't have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia!" Trump tweeted Friday.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted that he had a similar conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and bemoaned that the US is running a trade deficit with Japan.
He said, "Spoke to Prime Minister Abe of Japan, who is very enthusiastic about talks with North Korea. Also discussing opening up Japan to much better trade with the U.S. Currently have a massive $100 Billion Trade Deficit. Not fair or sustainable. It will all work out!"
Trump's decision to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum has riled markets and prompted backlash from US trading partners, including the European Union. The Trump administration previously indicated it would exempt Canada and Mexico from the tariffs as NAFTA negotiations are underway, and European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said Friday that the EU is "counting on being excluded" from the new US tariff regime.
The EU said previously it would respond to Trump's tariffs with reciprocal tariffs on US goods, and Trump has expressed irritation with both the trading practices of European countries as well as the level of defense spending from European members of NATO.