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Trump mulls 6-month window for Japan to curb auto exports: report

U. S. President Donald Trump (AP)

NEW YORK (Kyodo) -- U.S. President Donald Trump will give Japan and the European Union 180 days to "limit or restrict" exports of automobiles and auto parts to the United States in return for delaying auto tariffs, Bloomberg news agency reported Wednesday, citing a draft executive order.

The Trump administration has determined that auto imports pose a threat to national security because they hurt domestic producers and their ability to invest in new technology, according to the order, which Trump is expected to sign this week.

A Commerce Department report was quoted by Bloomberg as saying America's innovation capacity "is now at serious risk as imports continue to displace American-owned production."

The Bloomberg report came after U.S. media reported Trump is expected to delay a decision on tariffs on imported cars and parts by up to six months.

A formal announcement is expected by Saturday, the deadline to decide whether to impose duties on vehicle and auto parts imports over national security concerns.

Trump has threatened to impose additional tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported cars and parts. If he follows through, the new duties would significantly impact major car exporters such as Japan.

Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have come to an understanding that the United States will refrain from imposing tariffs on automobile imports from Japan while negotiations are underway.

Trump regards automobiles as a symbol of the trade imbalance with Japan, because automobiles and auto parts accounted for about 75 percent of the U.S. trade deficit as of 2017.

In February, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross submitted to Trump a report on a Commerce Department investigation into the potential impact of auto and automotive parts imports on U.S. national security.

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