- The White House on Friday said it would hold off on deciding whether to impose steep tariffs on cars entering the US.
- That delayed a major escalation that was expected to raise the price of vehicles by thousands of dollars.
- The Commerce Department concluded an investigation into whether auto imports posed a threat to national security, but its findings haven’t been turned over to Congress.
The White House on Friday said it would hold off on deciding whether to impose steep tariffs on cars entering the US, delaying a major escalation that was expected to raise the price of vehicles by thousands of dollars.
The 180-day delay had been widely expected and could allow negotiators additional time to discuss trade with the European Union and Japan.
In February, the Commerce Department concluded an investigation into whether auto imports posed a threat to national security. The White House has declined to make those findings available to lawmakers, who widely oppose the prospect of auto tariffs.
Nearly 160 bipartisan members of Congress urged the top White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, in a letter earlier this month not to place tariffs as high as 25% on vehicles entering the US.
"We are convinced that the products hard-working Americans in the auto sector design, build, sell, and service are not a threat to our national security," the letter said. "We strongly urge you to advise the President against imposing trade restrictions that could harm the auto sector and the American economy."
The Center for Automotive Research warned in a report last year that Trump’s proposed tariffs would add up to $6,875 to the price of an average vehicle and put hundreds of thousands of jobs in the sector at risk.
The delay came days after significant escalations in a yearlong trade dispute between Washington and Beijing, which increased duties on each other’s products last week.
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