The US may not impose a high 25% tariff on imported automobiles and components as the deadline for its decision looms on Nov. 13, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said on Nov. 3.Speaking in an interview on Bloomberg Television from Bangkok that day, Ross hinted that the Donald Trump administration may not need to impose the tariffs.
“We have had very good conversations with our European friends, with our Japanese friends, with our Korean friends, and those are the major auto producing sectors,” he said.“Our hope is that the negotiations we have been having with individual companies about their capital investment plans will bear enough fruit that it may not be necessary to put the [Trade Expansion Act Section] 232 [tariffs] fully into effect, may not even be necessary to put it partly in effect,” he added.Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act is a provision that allows imports to be restricted and high tariffs to be imposed on an emergency basis in cases where an imported product is deemed to threaten US national Security.
Trump previously ordered an examination through May 18 on whether to impose high tariffs on imported automobiles and components on that basis; following a 180-day extension, the new deadline falls on Nov. 13.Many had speculated that South Korea would not be targeted for high tariffs after the conclusion of renegotiations on the two sides’ Free Trade Agreement (FTA) last year, which Trump himself praised as well executed. Japan also completed trade negotiations with the US in September, increasing the likelihood that it will not be included among the tariff targets.
Negotiations between the US and EU are still under way.When asked whether a “Phase One” trade agreement might be signed within the month, Ross was optimistic, answering, “We’re making good progress, and there’s no natural reason why it couldn’t be.” Trump told reporters he would first see whether China agrees, adding that if an agreement is reached it would be signed somewhere in the US. He also suggested on Nov. 1 that it could be signed in Iowa, the US’ biggest soybean producer.
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