Trump delays imposing tariffs on auto imports and parts
Friday, 17 May 2019 WASHINGTON (AP) — Caught in a sprawling trade dispute with U.S. rival China, President Donald Trump decided against declaring commercial war on America's friends: The White House said Friday that he is delaying for six months any decision to slap import taxes on foreign cars, a move that would hit Europe and Japan especially hard.
Trump is hoping to use the threat of auto tariffs to pressure Japan and the European Union into making concessions in ongoing trade talks.
"If agreements are not reached within 180 days, the president will determine whether and what further action needs to be taken," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
The president has dusted off a rarely used weapon in the U.S. trade war arsenal — Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 — to investigate whether auto imports are a threat to U.S. national security, justifying tariffs. The Commerce Department sent its recommendations on the issue to the White House in February. They have not been made public but are widely assumed to include the possibility of imposing auto tariffs.
Public hearings last year revealed that support for taxing auto imports is virtually nonexistent outside the White House. Not even American automakers support it.
"The case remains clear — cars are not a national security threat," the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry trade group, said in a statement. "We are deeply concerned that the administration continues to consider imposing auto tariffs. By boosting car prices across the board and driving up car repair and maintenance costs, tariffs are essentially a massive tax on consumers."
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