White House moves to delay auto tariffs for up to six months

Trade war felt from Beijing to U.S.

President Donald Trump is delaying any decision to impose auto tariffs on car and auto part imports, deciding against ratcheting up trade disputes or impacting talks with European nations and Japan ahead of his upcoming G20 summit in Osaka. Mr. Trump announced his decision to delay for up to six months in a proclamation issued by the White House on Friday.

He was required to make a decision on Commerce Department recommendations aimed to protect the U.S. auto industry, based on national security concerns. The president however, acknowledged a February report from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that found “automobiles and certain automobile parts are being imported into the United States in such quantities and under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security of the United States.”

He added, “United States defense and military superiority depend on the competitiveness of our automobile industry and the research and development that industry generates.”

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Mr. Trump directed his trade team, led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, to pursue negotiations and address the impact that imports are having on the U.S. auto industry and its ability to invest in new research and development that he says is critical to the nation’s security.

The president says he’ll decide whether to take further action in 180 days if more robust protection is needed.

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