Trump may have missed tariff deadline

The clock has run out on President Donald Trump’s “Section 232” tariffs on imports of foreign-made cars and auto parts, after he failed to announce a decision by a self-imposed deadline, trade law experts say.

The U.S. administration may have to find other means if Trump wants to tax European or Japanese car imports, a key part of the U.S. president’s pledge to make America’s trade relationships more fair, the experts say.

Their argument centers on the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, a U.S. law aimed at protecting America’s Cold War-era defense industrial base. Section 232 of that act lays out how a U.S. president can tax specific imports if the Department of Commerce deems them a threat to national security.

The Trump administration launched its Section 232 probe of foreign autos in May 2018. Six months ago Trump agreed with an administration study that some imported vehicles and components are “weakening our internal economy” and could harm national security. He has threatened to tax them by as much as 25 percent.

But he took no action on Nov. 14, the deadline established by the act to take action, puzzling automakers.