President Donald Trump wrote online Thursday that he was "looking forward" to a meeting with steel and aluminum industry workers but stopping short of announcing plans to implement his promised tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.
Trump had reportedly been tentatively scheduled to officially impose the tariffs, which he announced plans for last week, at the 3:30 p.m. meeting but an administration official said Wednesday that that was unlikely to happen since lawyers were still finalizing paperwork for the new import taxes.
"Looking forward to 3:30 P.M. meeting today at the White House," the president wrote online. "We have to protect & build our Steel and Aluminum Industries while at the same time showing great flexibility and cooperation toward those that are real friends and treat us fairly on both trade and the military."
The timing of Trump's official tariff announcement remained uncertain Thursday, although press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at Wednesday's press briefing that the White House intended to make the announcement this week. A person familiar with the internal administration debate on the tariffs said that specifics were still being worked out as of Wednesday.
Trump's announcement last that he would move to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum came as a surprise to some inside his administration and has created a division within the Republican Party, whose Congressional leaders have expressed opposition to the president's proposal.
Top U.S. trade partners, including China and the European Union, have also expressed concern about the implantation of tariffs. The E.U. has threatened retaliatory tariffs targeting U.S. industries, especially those heavily located in presidential election swing states like Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin and North Carolina.