U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday delayed tariffs on cars and auto parts imports for up to six months and directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to negotiate deals with Japan and the European Union to address what his administration perceives as a national security threat.

If agreements are not reached within 180 days, Trump "will determine whether and what further action needs to be taken," the White House said.

The administration appears poised to use the threat of auto tariffs to pressure Japan and European countries into making concessions — possibly by seeking export restraints or quotas, a move that would be in violation of World Trade Organization rules — in respective trade negotiations.