US President Donald Trump is likely to move ahead with tariffs on imported vehicles, a move that could prompt the European Union to agree a new trade deal, US Senate finance committee chairman Charles Grassley said on Wednesday. “I think the president is inclined to do it,” the Republican senator said. “I think Europe [is] very, very concerned about those tariffs … It may be the instrument that gets Europe to negotiate.” US Commerce Department recommendations into whether Trump should impose tariffs of up to 25 per cent on imported cars and parts on national security grounds are due by mid-February. A Commerce Department spokeswoman declined to comment. Grassley, who has had regular talks with Trump and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on trade issues, said he did not like new tariffs but “they are a fact of life when Trump is in the White House”. Donald Trump threatens to impose 20 per cent tariff on European car imports He said they might have been an “effective tool” in getting China, Canada, Mexico and others to negotiate on trade. Iowa senator Grassley also wants the EU to agree to include agricultural issues in trade talks, although EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström said last week the 28-country bloc could not negotiate on agriculture. The White House has pledged not to move forward with imposing tariffs on the EU or Japan as long as it is making constructive progress in bilateral trade talks. Trump has urged the EU to drop its 10 per cent tariff on imported vehicles. The US passenger car tariff is 2.5 per cent, while it imposes 25 per cent tariffs on pickup trucks. Trump tariffs may cost US auto industry 1 million car sales a year Trump has repeatedly threatened to impose new car tariffs. “Cars is the big one,” Trump said last year. The US Trade Representative’s office last week published its objectives for EU talks, including seeking comprehensive agriculture access. The prospect of 25 per cent tariffs sent shock waves through the car industry, with US and foreign-brand producers lobbying against it. German carmakers met Trump in December to urge him not to impose tariffs. On Monday, Volkswagen said it would invest US$800 million in its Tennessee operations and add 1,000 jobs to build electric vehicles. That drew praise from Trump. Trade talk movement as China agrees to slash tariffs on US auto imports from 40 to 15 per cent, report says Carmakers say imposing 25 per cent tariffs would raise cumulative prices for US vehicles by US$83 billion annually and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. They argue there is no evidence car imports pose a national security risk. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, whose members include General Motors, VW and Toyota, warned tariffs would boost imported car prices by nearly US$6,000 on average. Earlier this week, senators Doug Jones and Lamar Alexander reintroduced legislation to delay any 25 per cent car tariff and require the International Trade Commission to conduct a comprehensive study before tariffs could be applied.