WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump says he will "make a decision very soon" about imposing tariffs on imported cars and auto parts.
It was unclear whether he would meet Wednesday's deadline to decide.
In May, Trump declared that car imports posed a threat to US national security that could justify tariffs or other sanctions. But he postponed a decision for six months while awaiting trade talks with the European Union.
Turning to a weapon little used in US trade policy, Trump also cited national security last year when he applied tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
Auto segmentation would mark a major escalation in Trump's aggressive trade policies. The United States last year imported $ 192 billion in cars and light trucks and $ 159 billion in auto parts.
In September, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Trump assured him that there was still an agreement to spare Japan from new car fares. The US and Japan signed a limited trade agreement in October that did not address automobiles. But Trump said the two countries are working on a more comprehensive deal.
Last week, former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said he did not think Trump would go ahead with car rates.
Trump's tariffs – especially the rates he imposed on more than $ 360 billion in Chinese imports – disrupted business and contributed to an economic slowdown in the United States and abroad.