The Trump administration, meanwhile, is considering whether to kick off a new trade probe against the EU as the window closes for hitting Brussels with the tariffs, Politico reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
According to the sources, cited by the media outlet, this means that European auto imports would not be subject to duties out of national security concerns but the EU would be subject to a much broader inquiry.
“What it would do is it would create a situation that for another year would give the president leverage over the EU”, the source said, cited by Politico.
Politico said that the new investigation - under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 - could be potentially more sweeping and would reportedly subject numerous European industries.
Notably, the White House previously used the Section 301 provision to justify trade war against China.
Section 301 allows the US president to impose trade restrictions if an investigation finds that a country is engaged in a practice that is unjustifiable and burdens or restricts US commerce.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier that the United States would prefer the absence of any barriers in trade with European countries, and that Washington wanted to increase trade with Europe but it should be structured in such a way that both sides could build wealth.
According to the statistics of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), the EU exported 127.8 million euros ($142 million) worth of passenger vehicles in 2018. Meanwhile, the United States exported $50.8 million worth of passenger cars. At the same time, ACEA points out that EU produces a number of its cars in the United States, creating jobs for about 120,000 Americans.