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According to Reuters, The Trump administration came under fire on Thursday from foreign automobile companies as the US considers its options on imposing a hefty 25% tariff on foreign autos.

Key quotes

“Hundreds of workers employed by foreign automakers rallied on Capitol Hill, urging the administration to drop the plans they said could threaten their jobs. A bipartisan group of 150 lawmakers signed a letter urging the administration to drop the plans amid the opposition of groups representing nearly all major automakers, dealers, parts companies and retailers.  Administration officials and congressional aides say the tariff probe is in part designed to win concessions during ongoing NAFTA renegotiation talks, but note that Trump has told aides he wants to impose tariffs before the congressional elections in November.

Canada’s deputy ambassador to the United States, Kirsten Hillman, told the hearing that imposing tariffs on Canadian imports would be “devastating” to the U.S. auto sector and that Canada would respond in a “proportional manner” if auto tariffs were imposed.  “Canada could not conceivably represent any risk to U.S. national security,” she said.

European Union Ambassador David O’Sullivan said at the hearing that the suggestion that imports of vehicles and parts from the “closest allies” of the United States could pose a security risk was “absurd” and “lacks legitimacy.”  A group representing major automakers told Commerce on Thursday that imposing tariffs of 25 percent on imported cars and parts would raise the price of U.S. vehicles by $83 billion annually and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Automakers say there is “no evidence” that auto imports pose a national security risk, and that the tariffs could actually harm U.S. economic security.  They are also facing higher prices after tariffs were imposed on aluminum and steel imports.

No automaker or parts company has endorsed the tariffs, and they have pointed to near-record sales in recent years.