US Department of Commerce initiates Section 232 investigation into auto imports
26 May, 2018, 22:49 | Author: Carlos George
Trudeau also predicted talk of tariffs would likely disappear if slow-moving negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement - now stuck on autos issues - are successful. "But we know that this is very much linked to ongoing negotiations around moving forward on NAFTA".
"Raising taxes on Americans who choose to buy imported cars or trucks is a bad idea", said Republican Sen.
Tariffs that hurt Canada will hurt the competitiveness of the US auto industry as well, Trudeau said, adding some automobile pieces cross the border six times before they end up in an assembled vehicle.
Japan's minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, said Japan, which accounts for about 40 percent of U.S. vehicle imports, will continue to remind United States officials that any trade measures must conform to the rules of the World Trade Organization.
"We are going to make sure the pipeline gets built and we are going to do it responsibly and in a way that upholds the national interest and we're working very hard to do just that and when we have more to say, we will say more", he said. A lot of cars and parts are imported to the USA, which means American consumers will pay more.
"I don't see how bullying them on auto tariffs will change that".
"Our intelligence and security agencies came back with a very clear recommendation that they didn't feel the transaction should proceed for national security reasons", Trudeau said, declining to elaborate on the reasoning.
Labor unions, however, generally favored the tariffs as supporting USA manufacturing jobs.
He said exports of German cars to the United States fell by a quarter between 2013 and 2017, to 494,000.
Valliere said Trump's auto threat could backfire and leave the USA isolated.
"From Canada's side, higher tariffs mean higher prices and also less demand", she said.
The threat is typical of Trump's "brinkmanship" negotiating style, she added, and not necessarily indicative of his intentions.
The U.S. remains far apart on the talks over rewriting the trade pact with Canada and Mexico, with the discussions at an impasse over rules for auto production. The initiation of the trade investigation could be seen as an attempt to gain leverage in the talks with the two USA neighbours. "Access to worldwide markets is critical for the motor vehicle parts industry to remain competitive".
This month, analysts said the three parties conceded that the talks were likely to continue until 2019.
Trump brought a little-used weapon to his fight to protect auto workers: Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, a national security probe into car and truck imports would inspect if vehicle and auto parts imports are pressurizing the domestic auto industry.
President Trump issued tariffs of 25 percent against imported steel and 10 percent against imported aluminum March 8, though he later allowed various exemptions. Now that Trump has broken the taboo, critics fear that other countries will use it, too, to impose sanctions.
"A trade war with our allies would not only be terribly damaging to our relationships overseas, but it would make imported cars more expensive, diminish selection and variety, and put at risk the tens of thousands of US manufacturing jobs responsible for building foreign-brand cars here at home". But he questioned whether it would work.
"I welcome the fact that they're investigating this and they're even considering the tariffs, if they need to be done", Williams said.
In an interview with Reuters, Trudeau said that while U.S. "We will be able to better grasp the potential impact on the local automotive industry after the USA government provides more information on the direction of its investigation".
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