Auto tariffs: Friday’s ”Section 232” deadline set to up the ante on European autos

Friday is the deadline for Trump to act on Section 232 auto/auto parts report, which then brings Europe into the trade war fray. However, Cowen & Co’s Washington Research Group think that if Trump chooses to enter into negotiations to limit or restrict the articles found to impair U.S. national security, he has an additional 180 days beyond May 17 to conclude such an agreement. This is their base case. They believe the report will be used to justify a 25% tariff (quotas for Canada and Mexico per the detailed USMCA side letter – and likely South Korea, though that is less certain). The possibility of an extension is largely due to a lack of trade wins in Q1 as neither USMCA or China have been concluded, i.e. don’t start new trade wars with Europe and Japan before the current ones are resolved, the Cowen report says. but tariffs aren’t the only option, and the report sets out various scenarios that combine tariffs and quotas.