Potential US Section 232 automotive tariffs said threat to industry

Date: Feb 20, 2019

US automotive industry groups have voiced concerns about potential Section 232 tariffs on imports of vehicles and vehicle parts, arguing that such trade duties would have damaging effects across the industry. 
These groups have criticized a report submitted by US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to the White House on Sunday February 17. That report, which was based on Commerce’s investigation into the effect of light vehicle and vehicle parts imports on US national security, was not immediately made public.

When the investigation was launched in May 2018, Ross said that “there is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry.”

After receiving the report, President Donald Trump has 90 days to decide whether action – in the form of tariffs or quotas – will be taken.

“MEMA [the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association] is alarmed and dismayed that the Department of Commerce’s report on Section 232 tariffs on motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts will not be made public immediately. It is critical that our industry have the opportunity to review the recommendations and advise the White House on how proposed tariffs, if they are recommended, will put jobs at risk, impact consumers and trigger a reduction in US investments that could set us back decades,” the association said on February 18.

“The US auto sector plays a pivotal role in our economy, supporting millions of American jobs through its enormous annual capital investments across the country,” American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC) president Matt Blunt said in a statement.

“We believe the imposition of higher import tariffs on automotive products under Section 232 and the likely retaliatory tariffs against US auto exports would undermine – not help – the economic and employment contributions that FCA US, Ford and General Motors make to the US economy,” Blunt continued.

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