Trump gears up for U.S. tariffs on vehicle imports

Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted Canada and Mexico for being 'difficult' during NAFTA talks

In laying out the rationale for investigating whether vehicle tariffs are warranted, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested that auto imports have damaged the USA vehicle industry.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has since initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which grants the president the ability to restrict imports considered a threat to national security.

As for Trump's comments, Easter said he would not comment on a "one off" statement by the president.

"Contrary to the assumption underlying the investigation on import vehicles, the USA auto industry is thriving", Bozella said.

A move by the United States to explore tariffs on auto imports is based on flimsy logic and is part of the pressure from Washington to renegotiate the NAFTA trade pact, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday.

Canada and Mexico are the top two vehicle suppliers to the United States, so any tariffs would hurt them the most. The tariffs on steel and aluminum proved to be quite controversial, forcing delays in the Section 232 report to the president and weakening full implementation of the tariffs.

Trump's auto tariffs, if implemented, would be similar to how the administration imposed duties on imported steel and aluminum.

The Trump administration opened a trade investigation on Wednesday into whether vehicle imports had damaged the us auto industry.

"The U.S. auto industry is thriving and growing", said John Bozzella, chief executive of Global Automakers, a trade group representing Toyota, Nissan Motor Co.

Commerce said the inquiry would determine whether lost domestic production had weakened the U.S. "internal economy" and its ability to develop connected vehicle systems, autonomous vehicles, fuel cells, electric motors and batteries, and advanced manufacturing processes. "This path leads inevitably to fewer choices and higher prices for cars and trucks in America".

Trump administration launches vehicle import probe
Trump administration considers tariff on cars: report

Earlier Wednesday, Trump tweeted that there will be "big news coming soon" for American autoworkers.

Bozzella noted 12 million cars and trucks were produced in the United States past year.

Almost half of the vehicles sold in the US are imported, with many coming from assembly plants in Mexico and Canada.

Trump is threatening to impose the penalties at the same time that USA negotiators are trying to get Canada and Mexico to agree to demands that would overhaul NAFTA's auto rules.

Asked if the measures would hit Mexico and Canada, a Mexican source close to the NAFTA talks said: "That probably is going to be the next battle".

Lawmakers from both Trump's Republican party and Democrats have rejected any easing of the ZTE sanctions, saying the move would pose a national security threat.

German automakers reacted with dismay Thursday as the US Commerce Department said tariffs on auto imports could be on the horizon, potentially opening a new front in a burgeoning transatlantic trade conflict.

Foreign trade in an increasingly globalized economy involves a complicated array of rules and regulations that should be subject to frequent review and adjustment.

"The BMW Group is committed to free trade worldwide". He has complained about the difficulties US carmakers face selling their products overseas, raising the subject with Asian and European allies. "After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!" he tweeted in the morning. Now the U.S. imposes a tariff of just 2.5 percent on foreign cars, while the European Union levies a 10 percent duty on United States cars.

Not a one-way road: The US auto industry exported almost 2 million vehicles worldwide worth $US57 billion.

More news: Diplomats: UN exempts NKoreans meeting Trump from sanctions

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