Timing of auto tariffs depends on talks, says US Commerce Secretary

Wilbur Ross

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stated that potential tariffs on automakers are aimed at encouraging companies to make more cars and other vehicles in the United States and the timing regarding any duties would depend on the success of continued negotiations.

“It’s a very, very important component of the European situation,” Ross informed CNBC in an interview. “If we don’t fix the auto and auto part trade deficit and the Chinese trade deficit, we’re not going to get anywhere.”

“The timing of this whole thing will largely be driven by what happens in negotiations,” Ross stated. “China, we don’t really import very much in the way of cars but we do import some parts.”

“It’s a very, very complicated picture but we’re moving along at a very deliberate and very orderly pace,” he included.

European automakers are set to meet with senior administration officials later Tuesday as the United States thinks about slapping tariffs on European-made cars. Top executives at Volkswagen and Daimler are going to attend, according to the White House.

During the weekend U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a temporary truce in the two nations’ trade war but there were conflicting statements if Beijing was raising retaliatory tariffs imposed on cars constructed in the United States.

Asked about the Commerce Department’s review on whether to impose a 25 percent tariff on European vehicles, Ross stated its report was undergoing normal review.

Ross informed CNBC it was important to keep a lot of electric car production in the United States.

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