Trump delays decision on auto tariffs for up to 6 months

President Donald Trump announced a six-month delay in imposing steep tariffs on auto imports, seeking to pressure Europe and Japan into bargaining table concessions on trade.

The decision marked a temporary reprieve from what would have been a sizable escalation in Trump's multi-front trade wars.

Trump's threat targets a major chunk of global economic activity with profound disruptions. Hundreds of billions of dollars in autos are manufactured, shipped and sold internationally every year.

In a proclamation, the president directed U.S Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to update him within 180 days on the outcome of negotiations with the EU, Japan and "any other country" Lighthizer deems appropriate.

By leaving the threat of tariffs hanging, Trump's move raises the temperature in European capitals already angered by the imposition of punishing U.S duties on steel and aluminum last year.

Trump's decision also preserved a truce declared last year with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in which both sides agreed to cease trade hostilities while efforts continued to resolve the trade dispute.