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Report: White House to delay decision on auto tariffs by up to 6 months

Trump and Juncker
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker with President Trump in July. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The White House does not plan to make a decision on whether to impose auto tariffs by President Trump's May 18 deadline and will instead delay the announcement by up to 6 months, Bloomberg reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Trump's team has been looking for ways to punt the auto tariffs decision. The White House knows that if they pile on another set of tariffs now — especially the deeply unpopular auto tariffs, which use the dubious justification that importing foreign automobiles and auto parts constitutes a "national security threat" — then the stock market would collapse and Congress would revolt.

  • Trump still wants to hold out the threat of auto tariffs over the Europeans as leverage. But his team is acutely aware that they've pushed Republican lawmakers to the brink of their tolerance with his tariffs war with China.

The other side: The EU had been finalizing a list of retaliatory tariffs on $23 billion of U.S. goods in the event that Trump decided to move forward with the decision.

Go deeper: Trump's plan to keep car tariffs in his back pocket