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Shrugging off Steven Mnuchin's alarmingly unprompted reassurances that liquidity in the US banking system remains strong - which sent a ripple of unease across European markets during Monday's holiday-shortened session - US stock futures have amazingly rebounded following one of the worst weeks for stocks since the financial crisis. But apparently, Trump Administration officials just can't seem to get out of their own way. Case in point: As if the market needed one more thing to worry about, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reminded investors during an interview with the Financial Times published Monday that there's still "a lot of flexibility" in deciding what form President Trump's planned tariffs on cars, trucks and car parts entering the US might take. Indeed, all options are on the table, Ross said.
Back in the spring, Trump ordered the Commerce Department to launch an investigation into the national security implications of foreign car imports under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 - the same statute used by the administration to justify tariffs on aluminum and steel. Last month, reports that the Commerce Department was preparing an early release of its final report (they have until Feb. 17), potentially opening the door to immediately slapping tariffs on all cars and parts entering the US except from Canada and Mexico, rattled markets - though European officials quickly stepped in to assure investors that no meetings between EU trade officials and the US to discuss such tariffs had taken place. Though the US ultimately backed off the early release of the report.
US-China - Trade - Truce - China - Retaliatory
And after the US-China trade truce, China decided to roll back its retaliatory tariff hikes on foreign autos as a gesture of good will (though given the fact that the overwhelming majority of cars sold in China are made in China, analysts quickly pointed out...
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