Trump says auto tariff probe will be completed in three-four weeks

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at an event marking the 6-month anniversary of the package of changes to the tax code he signed into law, at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 29, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Friday his administration’s investigation into whether to increase tariffs on cars from the European Union and other trading partners would be completed in three to four weeks.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as he traveled from Washington to New Jersey, Trump also said the United States has been treated very badly by the World Trade Organization but he is not considering withdrawing from it at this point.

Asked when the probe would be concluded, he said: “Very soon. It’ll be done in three, four weeks.”

Trump ordered the “Section 232” national security probe into autos on May 23, and his unusually fast timeline calls for it to be possibly completed in just over two months. Similar national security probes ordered last year that led to import tariffs of 25 percent steel and 10 percent on aluminum, took about 10 months to complete.

By law, the Commerce Department has 270 days to offer recommendations to the president after a Section 232 probe starts. The president then has 90 days to act upon those recommendations.

Written comments from interested parties in the autos probe were due on Friday, and the administration has scheduled a public hearing for July 19-20.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Eric Beech; Editing by Paul Simao and David Gregorio