Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cast doubt Sunday on whether the U.S. will move ahead with tariffs on imported vehicles and parts Nov. 14.
Progress in capital investment talks with foreign automakers may make the tariffs — as high as 25% — unnecessary, Ross said in an interview with Bloomberg. His remarks come as the current six-month postponement of the tariffs draws to a close.
“We have had very good conversations with our European friends, with our Japanese friends, with our Korean friends, and those are the major auto-producing sectors,” Ross told Bloomberg. “Our hope is that the negotiations we have been having with individual companies about their capital investment plans will bear enough fruit that it may not be necessary to put the [Section] 232 [tariffs] fully into effect, may not even be necessary to put [them] partly in effect.”
While deals the U.S. previously inked with South Korea and Japan made auto tariffs related to those nations less likely, the status of tariffs on autos from the EU has been less certain. However, the Trump administration wants to head off tariffs based on the willingness of automakers in the EU to invest more in the U.S., according to Ross, and the administration has praised rising investment by those automakers.