The Trump administration has severely been criticised by automakers, foreign governments as it considers tariffs of up to 25 percent, a levy critics warn will hike vehicle costs, hurting auto sales and global industry jobs.

US President Donald Trump has touted import tariffs as high as 25 percent on auto parts and cars.
US President Donald Trump has touted import tariffs as high as 25 percent on auto parts and cars. (AP)

Canada, the European Union, Japan, Mexico and South Korea will meet in Geneva next week to discuss how to respond to threats by US President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on US imports of autos and car parts, officials familiar with the talks said.

The Trump administration has come under heavy criticism from automakers, foreign governments and others as it considers tariffs of up to 25 percent, a levy critics warn will hike vehicle costs, hurting auto sales and global industry jobs.

Several auto manufacturing powers have been talking to each other in recent days about their fears and a possible coordinated response to Trump's "Section 232" investigation, which he ordered on May 23, into whether auto imports are a threat to US security, sources say.

The probe could be completed within weeks, although similar ones ordered last year that led to tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum took about 10 months. The Commerce Department has 270 days to offer recommendations to the president after such a probe starts. He then ha s 90 days to act upon them.

It was not immediately clear what kind of response the countries could be looking at, although Canada, the EU and Mexico retaliated with their own tariffs after Trump imposed levies on steel and aluminum imports in March. Another option is to fight the United States at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Deputy ministers will gather in Geneva on July 31 to hear each other's views, a Canadian official and a Mexican official told Reuters, asking to not be named because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

"The meeting is meant to bring together major auto producing nations so we can discuss our concerns over the US Department of Commerce's Section 232 investigation of automobiles and parts," said the Canadian government official.

Mexico's economy ministry confirmed Deputy Economy Minister Juan Carlos Baker will travel to Geneva for "work meetings about several subjects," including meeting World Trade Organization (WTO) chief Roberto Azevedo. The Canadian foreign ministry declined to comment.

Source: Reuters