President Donald Trump plans to impose a new set of measures that should protect domestic automakers. On Wednesday, Mr. President met with Wilbur Ross, who is Commerce Secretary and suggest him to conduct an investigation that should result in higher tariffs on imported vehicles and car parts.
An investigation, similar to the one Trump is proposing now, was launched last year in a different sector. The results were a 25% higher tariff on imported steel, and 10% higher on imported aluminum. As a consequence, the US is renegotiating taxes with countries that export these materials, and these tariffs are suspended for now, until talks are completed.
In a statement released yesterday, Donald Trump repeated that domestic car-industry is “critical to our strength as a nation.” According to a law from the 1960s, the president has the authority to impose tariffs and various other protective measures in industries that are crucial for national security.
POTUS hinted at the incoming changes in one of his tweets by saying: “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!”
The investigation that resulted in steel and aluminum tariffs lasted more than a year, so the changes in auto-industry are still at least months away. Also, there is a possibility that Trump is using taxes as leverage in the discussions with Japan, Mexico, Canada, and the European Union regarding the new trade agreements. During his campaign and reign as president, he frequently stated that the US has lower tariffs on imported vehicles than any other world country.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
While these changes might be welcomed by some, the situation in auto-industry is different from that in steel and aluminum sectors. While the latter one was infected by foreign competition, the car industry has been faring quite well in comparison to outside competitors. During the 2017 General Motors was the best selling brand in the US, while Ford held position No3. Unlike in steel/aluminum industry, foreign carmakers such as Honda and Toyota have their factories on the US ground.