Last week the Trump Administration surprised the world with the decision to initiate a Section 232 investigation into auto imports. Cars imported into the United States may be a threat to our national security? Really, who are we protecting? Not the 2.5 million Americans who work for the U.S. auto sector. Not the consumers who will have to pay higher prices and have less vehicle choices.
The U.S. auto industry is thriving. Today, we are selling, producing, and exporting at or near record levels in America. United States is going to face retaliation from our trading partners. Not just on autos, it will create fewer markets for American products. I am not alone in my thinking that this approach is creating a challenging environment. Others have weighed in as well:
National Association of Manufacturers:
“Manufacturers in the United States want to give every advantage to American workers. But incorrectly using the 232 statute will create unintended consequences for U.S. manufacturing workers that will limit the chance for Americans to win, just as we do when government gets out of the way and allows us to lead.
Read full statement here: NAM
U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue
The U.S. Chamber strongly opposes the administration’s threat to impose tariffs on auto imports in the name of national security. If this proposal is carried out, it would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.
Read full statement here: U.S. Chamber
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), President Pro Tempore of the United States Senate and Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
“Commerce’s 232 investigation into the national security implications of trade in automobiles, trucks and auto parts is deeply misguided. For most Americans, cars are the second largest purchase they make, after their homes. Taxing cars, trucks and auto parts coming into the country would directly hit American families who need a dependable vehicle, whether they choose a domestic or a global brand.”
Read full statement here: Senator Orrin Hatch
Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association
“Imposing 232 tariffs on motor vehicle parts and motor vehicles will put American jobs - and national security - at risk.”
Read full statement here: MEMA
American International Automobile Dealers Association
“America’s 9,600 international nameplate auto franchises and their 577,000 American employees rely on competitively priced products to sustain their businesses and jobs. To treat auto imports like a national security threat would be a self-inflicted economic disaster for American consumers, dealers, and dealership employees.”
Read full statement here: AIADA
The Business Roundtable
“The Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports have harmed the U.S. economy, resulting in higher costs on U.S. businesses and consumers, and exposing U.S. exporters to foreign retaliation. Imposing such tariffs on automobile and automotive parts imports would only make things worse.”
Read full statement here: BRT
The Washington Post Opinion
“Mr. Trump’s notion is a cure in search of a disease: Making money hand over fist from light trucks and SUVs, U.S. automakers are not clamoring for protection from car imports from the few countries that would be affected — such as Germany, Japan, China and South Korea, which accounted for about 3.3 million of the 17.5 million new light vehicles sold in the United States in 2015.”
Read full piece: Trump’s proposed ‘chicken tax’ on auto imports is a very bad idea
We need to take a broader and more strategic approach to benefiting the U.S. auto industry and recognize that it’s 13, and soon to be 14 companies, who are producing and exporting cars in America. Our industry thrives in an environment of low risk and high certainty. We are not asking for this protection. We need more trade, not less. We need more engagement with our trading partners and hope the Administration continues to look for those opportunities.