Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: It's 'premature' to say whether Trump's threatened EU auto tariffs will come to pass

  • It's too "premature" to say whether President Donald Trump's auto tariffs will come to pass, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says.
  • Ross also says it's too early to tell whether the United States will withdrawal from the World Trade Organization.

It's too "premature" to say whether President Donald Trump's auto tariffs will come to pass, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Monday.

Ross also said it's too early to tell whether the United States will withdrawal from the World Trade Organization.

"We've made no secret of our view that there are some reforms needed at the WTO," Ross said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

He continued: "There really is a need to update [or] synchronize its activities, and we'll see where that leads. But I think it's a little premature to talk about simply withdrawing from it."

Axios reported the Trump administration has drafted a bill that allows the White House to unilaterally raise tariffs without congressional consent. That means the world's largest economy would be acting outside WTO rules.

Ross has repeatedly defended the administration's aggressive approach on tariffs, saying it will deter allegedly unfair trade practices that Trump pledged to end.

Ross was criticized late last month by Senate Republicans and Democrats over what they called a confusing and damaging Trump administration process of imposing tariffs.

The Commerce Department under Ross first recommended imposing heavy tariffs or quotas on foreign producers of steel and aluminum in February in the interest of national security.

Since then, those steel and aluminum tariffs have been enacted on numerous nations, including allies Canada, Mexico and the European Union, which have launched retaliatory measures.

New tariffs from Canada were imposed over the weekend on about $12.5 billion worth of U.S. products.

Meanwhile, the president is threatening tariffs on European auto imports.

The U.S. could get a new round of retaliatory tariffs worth as much as $300 billion, if it moves ahead with new duties on European cars, according to The Financial Times.

The Trump administration is also putting pressure on China on the trade front, by threatening tariffs set to go into effect on Friday. If that happens, China has promised tariffs on the U.S.

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