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U.S. Holds Off on Trump’s Car Tariffs After Trade Meeting, Sources Say
The Trump administration will hold off for now on imposing new tariffs on automobile imports as top officials weigh revisions to a report on the national security implications, according to two people familiar with the matter. President Donald Trump met with his top trade advisers on Tuesday at the White House to discuss a draft report on a Commerce Department investigation into the impact of car imports. The people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting wasn’t publicly announced, said the administration wasn’t ready to act on tariffs and that the report would be subject to further changes. The Commerce probe, which began in May under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, covers imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, as well as auto parts. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has until February to deliver his findings to the president, who has final say on any tariffs. Trump has threatened tariffs of as much as 25 percent on foreign-made vehicles. Companies and governments from Europe to Asia have warned Trump that tariffs on car imports would hurt the U.S. economy and disrupt the global auto industry. An auto trade war would deal a blow to car-makers from General Motors Co. to Toyota Motor Corp., which have built their supply chains to take advantage of countries with low duties. The National Automobile Dealers Associationestimates that the tariffs would add as much as $2,270 to the cost of U.S.-built cars and $6,875 to the cost of imported cars and trucks. Shares of Japanese carmakers such as Toyota and Honda Motor Co. rallied in Tokyo trading Wednesday. North America is the biggest sales region for the two carmakers. Toyota jumped as much as 2 percent while Honda rose as much as 2.6 percent. Subaru Corp. rallied 4.1 percent while Mazda Motor Corp. gained 2 percent and Nissan Motor Co. 1.9 percent.