U.S. auto tariff decision is likely to be delayed

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U.S. auto tariff decision is likely to be delayed

The United States is expected to delay its decision on whether to impose tariffs on vehicles and auto part imports, according to U.S. media reports.

On Monday, the New York Times said that U.S. President Donald Trump will likely put off the decision for several months.

Trump said in May he might utilize section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act to introduce tariffs of up to 25 percent on auto imports, citing threats to national security.

He gave countries, including Korea and Japan, 180 days to resolve the matter through trade negotiations.

That deadline is today.

The report said that the decision will likely be delayed as foreign automakers have eased U.S. pressure through discussions with American officials.

It cited a senior U.S. official who said that the German car industry has promised to create 25,000 jobs in the United States.

U.S.-based Politico also reported that Trump will announce this week a delay to the decision on European autos for an additional six months.

Much of the tariff decision has lately focused on the European Union, as Japan has reached an agreement with the United States and Korea revised its free trade deal with the United States last year.

Korea has strongly argued against the tariffs, making multiple requests to U.S. officials for an exemption.

Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said Monday that she conveyed Korea’s position to senior U.S. officials, including United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow, during her visit to the country last month.

She said that while U.S. officials viewed the FTA positively, the final decision remained uncertain as it lies with Trump.

Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo also delivered a similar message during a meeting with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in September.

Korea has argued that the updated trade agreement has led to a reduced trade deficit for the United States, addressing a key complaint by the Trump administration.

According to Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the United States’ trade deficit with Korea stood at $10.01 billion through October this year, dropping by 6.8 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.

The revised FTA went into effect at the start of the year.

Hyundai Motor Group has also expanded investment into the United States this year. It has committed a $2 billion investment in the country in September to set up a joint venture with autonomous mobility company Aptiv.

BY CHAE YUN-HWAN [chae.yunhwan@joongang.co.kr]
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