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U.S. Says Imported Cars Account for Half Its Trade Deficit

Imported cars account for half the overall U.S. trade deficit, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

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Imported cars account for half the overall U.S. trade deficit, according to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

He tells reporters in Luxembourg that China accounts for the other half of the deficit, Bloomberg News reports. Ross says the math explains why the Trump administration considers foreign-made cars a major component in its aim to balance the country’s trade accounts.

“We need to deal with China as an entity, and we need to deal with automotive as a product line,” Ross declares. He reiterates that President Donald Trump is likely to decide on May 18 whether to hike import duties on foreign cars to as much as 25% from the current 5%. If so, he is expected to justify the move on grounds that the imbalance represents a threat to national security.

A report earlier this week suggested that the decision on auto imports might be postponed as the White House focuses on a trade deal with China. But Trump said earlier today there is “no need to rush” those talks, which adjourned today with no progress.

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