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Report: Fate of US auto tariffs hinges on commerce department's findings

U.S. President Donald Trump will decide on how to implement auto tariffs, if at all, after the U.S. Commerce Department finalizes a report on whether imports of cars and car parts pose a national security threat, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told the Financial Times.

The report is being worked upon and is due Feb. 17, 2019, after which Trump will have three months to act. The U.S. launched its investigation into imported vehicles in May, despite a widespread outcry from global trading partners and concerns from domestic sellers.

A 90-day trade truce between the U.S. and China is set to expire March 1, 2019. Meanwhile, China temporarily suspended its retaliatory additional tariffs on U.S. car imports for three months until March 31, 2019, which was seen as a win by U.S. and European auto producers, although some analysts said the 90-day period would not be enough time to help stifled exporters return to pre-trade-war export levels.

The European Union's agreement with the U.S. to hold off on tariffs, particularly on autos and auto parts, will last only until the end of 2018.