The Trump administration is considering a proposal to impose new tariffs on imported vehicles, invoking a national security law that was used to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel, Reuters reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
The move is aimed partly at pressuring Canada and Mexico to make concessions in talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, as well as pressuring Japan and the European Union, which also export large numbers of vehicles to the US, the report said.
“There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!” President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Reuters said it has confirmed that the administration is considering launching a “Section 232” investigation into auto imports that could see tariffs of up to 25 percent imposed on vehicles brought into America.
A formal announcement is expected soon, according to the report, which cited government as well as industry sources.
At a meeting with automakers at the White House on May 11, Trump is reported to have said that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 percent or 25 percent on some imported vehicles.
The US president is said to have specifically criticized German automakers for exporting a large number of vehicles to the United States.
An ad hoc industry group representing the largest Japanese, German and other foreign automakers called “Here for America,” criticized the effort.
“The US auto industry is thriving and growing,” said John Bozzella, chief executive of Global Automakers, a trade group representing Toyota, Nissan Motor, Hyundai Motor and others, who also speaks for the broader group.
Bozzella noted 12 million cars and trucks were produced in the United States last year.
“To our knowledge, no one is asking for this protection. This path leads inevitably to fewer choices and higher prices for cars and trucks in America,” Bozzella said.
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