WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - Confirming media reports from earlier this week, President Donald Trump's administration on Friday officially delayed imposing tariffs on imported automobiles and parts for up to six months.
A White House statement noted Trump has directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to negotiate agreements to address the national security threat posed by auto imports.
'United States defense and military superiority depend on the competitiveness of our automobile industry and the research and development that industry generates,' White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
She added, 'The negotiation process will be led by United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and, if agreements are not reached within 180 days, the President will determine whether and what further action needs to be taken.'
Trump had faced a Saturday deadline to impose the tariffs or delay the decision to allow for further negotiations with the European Union and Japan.
The decision to delay the tariffs on auto imports comes as Trump is already facing an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China.
With news of increased tariffs on Chinese goods already roiling the stock markets, the president may have been reluctant to impose additional tariffs and risk further weakness on Wall Street.
Trump has previously used national security concerns to justify imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, drawing criticism from lawmakers for acting unilaterally and going around Congress.
(Photo: Gage Skidmore)
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