Trump's Tariff Threats Get Sized Up by a European Trucking Giant

(Bloomberg) -- One of Europe’s biggest trucking companies is trying to figure out how its business will be affected by a potential tariff war between the U.S. and the European Union.

Jens Bjorn Andersen, the chief executive officer of DSV A/S, says right now “it’s very unpredictable what will happen.”

The administration of President Donald Trump has extended until June 1 a decision on whether to exclude the EU from U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. Europe has responded by repeating its criticism that the levies violate World Trade Organization rules, and says the security concerns cited by the U.S. are unfounded.

Andersen, whose company is based west of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, said DSV “isn’t able to take any pre-emptive measures” if Europe is hit by the tariffs. “But our customers can. The transport flows may change,” but “we would continue to operate under those circumstances.”

“So transport wouldn’t disappear, the flows would just change,” Andersen said. “For us, we can still do well.”

As far as a trade war between the U.S. and China is concerned, Andersen said DSV “may be able to make more money by trucking a container from Mexico to the U.S. than shipping a container from China to the U.S.”

But ultimately, a trade war would “obviously affect us negatively,” the Danish CEO said. “I remember what it was like in Europe before 1993.”

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