Washington — US president Donald Trump has delayed the implementation of tariffs against imported autos and auto parts into the country amid calls by Congress members to reconsider the measures.
The White House was set to decide 17 May on whether to levy the tariffs, but President Trump decided to delay the decision for six months pending further trade negotiations with the European Union and Japan.
Administration spokespersons said the tariffs could interfere with those talks, as well as with trade talks with China and congressional approval of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The investigations are carried out under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, which determines whether imports of any given product threaten the national security by harming a US industry.
The US Department of Commerce began its Section 232 investigation of autos and auto parts in May 2018 and completed the investigation in February.
So far, the report on the investigation has not been made public, but the White House has said it contains evidence that imports of certain autos and auto parts threaten national security.
The impending decision prompted 170 members of Congress to draft a letter to Lawrence Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council within the Trump Administration, saying the tariffs would harm the auto industry and the US economy.
"We support efforts to increase manufacturing jobs and our manufacturing base here in America," the letter said.
"However, 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 economy," it said.
The auto sector accounts for nearly 4% of US private industry jobs, according to the letter.
"If tariffs were to be implemented, new vehicle prices will likely increase, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs," it said.