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.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.