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Trump postpones tariff decision on car imports Updated: 2019-05-18 12:21:48 KST


U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to wait another six months before deciding on whether to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported cars and parts from the European Union, Japan and other countries.
This has set the stage for a new round of trade talks, although many are envisioning a rocky road ahead in the negotiation process.
With the 180-day deferral, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will continue to engage in discussions, but if they are unsuccessful, Trump said that he will decide "whether and what further action needs to be taken".
Trump had previously said that imports of foreign cars and car parts were causing harm to the domestic auto industry and threatening national security.
But, the proposed tariff measures have drawn many critics outside the Trump administration due to skepticism over the U.S. Commerce Department's conclusion that auto imports are a potential national security threat..
Opposition has also stemmed from the fact that a large bulk of U.S. auto imports come from close American allies such as Mexico, Japan, Canada, Germany and South Korea.
Those countries combined accounted for more than 85 percent of American automotive imports in 2018.
But the order could also mean that Canada, Mexico and South Korea could be exempt from tariffs, because they had already reached a trade deal with the U.S, according to Bloomberg.
Officials from South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, having analyzed the statement regading the tariff delay, said there is no way of knowing whether a waiver will be granted to Korea pending an official confirmation from Washington.
The U.S. renegotiated a trade deal with South Korea last year, which included a provision to double the number of cars U.S. automakers can sell in South Korea without restrictions from local safety standards.
Hong Yoo, Arirang News.
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