Outrageous! US Taxes European Trucks at 25% Rate

Back in 1964 the Ford Motor Company was worried about this:

That’s the lovable old VW bus in its pickup truck variation. Ford was worried that it would eat into their domestic pickup truck sales, and if Ford was worried then so was the United Automobile Workers union. Luckily for them, 1964 was an election year. President Lyndon Johnson wanted UAW president Walter Reuther to support his civil rights program and promise not to go on strike during the campaign, so a deal was struck. When the election was over, Johnson made good on his end of the bargain by levying a 25 percent tariff on European light trucks, putatively in retaliation for a European tariff on American chickens. The chicken tax is long gone, but the truck tariff is with us to this day.

This means that all European light pickup trucks face a 25 percent tariff when they enter the US—a tariff so high that it effectively bans all light truck imports. That’s bad news for American consumers who want to buy a VW Amorak, reputed to be a very nice small pickup. I suggest that the EU immediately threaten to levy a 25 percent tariff on all Ford and GM pickup trucks until Donald Trump agrees to level the playing field here.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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