President Donald Trump wants to apply a 25 percent tariff on imports of automobiles under a similar authority that allowed him to charge taxes on imports of steel and aluminum to protect the national security of the USA. UU., Confirmed a senior government official.
The potential rates, which would only come after a long investigation into the threat to national security of imported automobiles, are threatened at the same time while the US negotiators. UU They are trying to get Canada and Mexico to accept the demands that would revise the NAFTA automotive rules.
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The investigation, which will run through the Department of Commerce, could take several months to complete and probably ends with Commerce making recommendations on whether and how to restrict imports of automobiles, which Trump could then choose if not accept.
Mexico and Canada are two of the three largest exporters of automobiles to the United States. UU Trump has also repeatedly complained about car imports from Germany and Japan, and has raised the issue in talks with world leaders.
from foreign brands such as Toyota, Nissan and Aston Martin expressed alarm after The Wall Street Journal reported for the first time on Wednesday afternoon that the Trump administration is considering a heavy tax on imported cars to protect national security from the USA UU The news outlet, which quoted industry officials informed about the overall plan, said the Trump administration is considering conducting an investigation to justify a tariff of up to 25 percent on automobile imports, which totaled $ 176 billion in 2017. That is exponentially larger than the imports of about $ 30 billion for steel and $ 18 billion for aluminum.
"If these reports are true, it's a bad day for American consumers," said John Bozzella, CEO of Global Automakers, in a statement. "The US auto industry is thriving and growing, Thirteen companies, soon to be 14, produced nearly 12 million cars and trucks in America last year, as far as we know, nobody is asking for this protection. inevitably less options and higher prices for cars and trucks in America. "
On Wednesday morning, Trump indicated that there will be some actions on cars, although it was not clear if he was referring to the ongoing talks with China, the NAFTA negotiations with Canada and Mexico or something else.
"There will be great news coming soon for our great American auto workers, After many decades of losing their jobs to other countries, they have waited long enough!" Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump seemed to link a possible action in cars to the NAFTA talks when he told reporters later on Wednesday, he felt that the auto industry "would be very happy with what will happen."
"You will see very soon what I am talking about," he said before his trip to Long Island. "NAFTA is very difficult, Mexico has been very difficult to deal with, Canada has been very difficult to deal with, they have been taking advantage of the United States for a long time, I am not satisfied with their requests, but I will tell you, in the end, We will win, we will win, and we will win big. "
Trump has already imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum after an investigation by the Department of Commerce determined that current imports of both metals were large enough to threaten the long-term viability of both national industries, endangering the national security of the United States. Any new investigation would also be based on the so-called Section 232 of the Commercial Expansion Act of 1962, which gives the executive power the possibility of conducting investigations to "determine the effects on national security of imports."
Previous year, EE. UU it imported $ 43 billion in automobiles from Canada, $ 39 billion from Japan, $ 30 billion from Mexico, $ 21 billion from Germany, $ 16 billion from South Korea and additional amounts from other suppliers.
The White House, the Department of Commerce and the Office of the United States Trade Representative did not respond to requests for comments.
Adam Behsudi contributed to this report.