Trump had previously given U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer 180 days to make trade agreements with the EU and Japan in regard to auto and auto part imports, saying they were a threat to national security. That deadline is approaching on Wednesday.
Lighthizer was able to reach an agreement with Japan in which the country committed to more U.S. agricultural exports and a bolstering of rules for digital trade, according to Politico. Lighthizer told reporters in September he did not expect the president to impose duties on Japan after the agreement.
But no such deal was reached with the EU as the countries did not allow agricultural products to be put on the negotiating table, so the president is expected to push the decision back, a person familiar with the decision told Politico.
The person familiar with the decision told Politico that the president’s actions on trades and tariffs can sometimes be uncertain, but unless something unforeseen comes up, the delay should be expected.
The White House spokesperson declined to say to Politico what decision the president is expected to make, and Lighthizer’s office did not respond to questions from the news outlet.
The Hill reached out to the White House and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for comment.
Trump’s decision comes at a time where he is already in the midst of trade negotiations with China, in a trade war that has lasted more than a year.
The delay would push his decision to a heightened time in the 2020 presidential campaign.