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“The Long View” By MEMA President and CEO Bill Long

Date: October 24, 2019

Motor vehicle parts suppliers are facing unprecedented challenges.

One of the biggest challenges we are facing is the administration’s use of a little-known trade law (known as Section 232) that allows the unilateral imposition of tariffs on items deemed a national security threat. Right now, the administration is considering using this law to impose tariffs on autos and motor vehicle parts from around the world.

The law may not be well-known, but the impact of these tariffs will be widespread. These tariffs will put high-quality jobs and investments at risk and will raise the cost of motor vehicles for consumers – at a time when they are already struggling to pay for the family car. These tariffs will put U.S. businesses and consumers at a competitive disadvantage.

While imposing tariffs to remedy national security threats is the president’s prerogative, motor vehicle parts are not a national security threat. In fact, it is the other way around: our industry and a global supply chain is critical to the long-term growth and success of the American economy. Our industry is growing, and our country depends on a successful motor vehicle supplier industry. And our industry depends on a stable trade environment that allows for solid investment decisions and job growth. These tariffs threaten both. It is as simple as that.

It is important that we maximize and raise our voices now. Since day one of the administration’s Section 232 investigation into placing tariffs on automobiles and motor vehicle parts on the basis of national security, MEMA has warned that imposing tariffs will put jobs at risk, impact consumers, and trigger a reduction in U.S. investments that could set us back decades. President Trump has announced a November 12 deadline to reach agreements with other countries to avoid these tariffs, and that time is quickly approaching. This looming deadline and the uncertainty created by the threat of these tariffs are straining businesses and working against the president’s goal of creating jobs in the United States.

Open markets and integrated supply chains provide a proven framework for economic growth and jobs in our industry. MEMA’s message to the White House remains clear:  the importation of motor vehicle parts is not a risk to our national security. To the contrary, the threat of tariffs or quotas on automobiles and motor vehicle parts is putting our economic security and technology leadership in jeopardy. 

MEMA represents the largest sector of manufacturing jobs in the United States. Motor vehicle suppliers directly employ over 871,000 U.S. workers, with a total employment-induced impact of 4.26 million jobs. Suppliers generate 2.4 percent of the U.S. GDP, and every state is a motor vehicle manufacturing state. If new tariffs hurt our industry, they will also hurt our country – and jobs in every state.

We have taken this message to the White House and to Congress, here in Washington and in the states. Now is the time for the White House to hear us. No new tariffs on motor vehicle parts. Our economic security depends on it.

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