President Donald Trump plans to hold off on imposing steep tariffs on imported autos while the US pursues agreements with key trading partners, industry sources told AFP Wednesday.
Trump has threatened to impose 25 percent punitive duties on autos — a possibility that has worried the European Union and Japan in particular, as well as Mexico and Canada.
Facing a deadline to announce a decision by Saturday on whether to implement the tariffs based on national security concerns, the sources said Trump would hold off as negotiations proceed.
New tariffs risk exploding already tense trade relations with Washington’s major trading partners, who are angry about punitive duties on steel and aluminum imposed last year.
CNBC and other media earlier Wednesday cited government sources also saying that Trump was expected to try negotiations before imposing any new import taxes.
German carmakers are especially concerned about the tariff threat, but Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared a truce in July 2018 in order to pursue negotiations.
EU officials have repeatedly said they expect the US to abide by the agreement to hold off on any new tariffs.
Under US law, Trump must make a decision 90 days after receiving the report from the Commerce Department on the national security threat faced by the American auto sector — or Saturday.
If he decides to impose tariffs, they must take effect 15 days after the announcement.
However, he can delay implementation for 180 days if he decides to negotiate.
The White House currently is negotiating trade deals with the EU and Japan, and late last year completed a revised accord with North American trading partners Mexico and Canada.
Trump freezes out longtime friend over alleged inauguration scams: ‘The president doesn’t get any of that money’
One of President Donald Trump's longest true friends is Los Angeles-based private equity real estate investor Tom Barrack. Their relationship goes back decades, with Barrack helping Trump sell New York's Plaza Hotel in the 1980s, pitching in to fund Trump's father's funeral, and serving as chairman of Trump's inaugural committee.
It is this last point, according to Politico, that has reportedly wrecked the two men's friendship and caused Trump to cut Barrack out of his inner circle.
Federal prosecutors are looking into how funds from the Trump inaugural fund may have been misspent or used to sell favors or influence in the fledgling Trump White House. Barrack has also come under scrutiny for pushing the Trump administration to approve a nuclear power expansion in Saudi Arabia that would have benefited his own businesses.
How secret Israeli attacks in Iraq are driving Trump’s obsession with Iran
President Trump’s policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran, notes former CIA analyst Paul Pillar, is more obsession than strategy, and a not-so-mysterious explosion on the outskirts of Baghdad Monday shows why.
Iraqi political analysts are blaming the attack on Israel, saying it follows two attacks earlier this month on facilities of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. According to an Israeli news report, Israel launched the two attacks with U.S.-made F-35 jets.
Former US ambassador to Denmark torches Trump’s Greenland plan on CNN: ‘I laughed until I cried’
Rufus Gifford, who previously served as the United States' ambassador to Denmark under former President Barack Obama, told CNN's John Berman that he can't believe President Donald Trump really thinks he can buy Greenland.
During a CNN interview Monday, Berman asked Gifford what his reaction was to the president publicly discussing his desire to do a "big" real estate deal with Denmark to buy Greenland.
Gifford did not respond positively.
"Honestly, I saw the Wall Street Journal headline when I was bound for Copenhagen," he said. "Like most people, I thought it was a joke. Reading more, it became confirmed. I shook my head, as I often say, many times as I've heard about Trump's foreign policy decisions, I laughed until I cried."