The tariffs on roughly $200 billion worth of imports from China announced by President Trump on September 17 will serve as a tax increase on the American public and consumers by increasing the costs of a new car or truck and of maintaining the hundreds of millions of vehicles currently on the roads. MEMA is disappointed that the administration has elected to implement these tariffs and urges the administration to protect intellectual property in more effective and targeted means rather than broadly applied tariffs.
MEMA opposes using tariffs to curb intellectual property (IP) theft and believes that the retaliatory tariffs announced on Monday could negate the Trump administration’s recent successful work on behalf of American companies, such as tax reform. The protection of intellectual property is a critical issue for MEMA and its members, and for decades MEMA has advocated for strong global protections of IP investments. However, MEMA fears that escalating this back-and-forth with a major trade partner will not resolve the issue at hand: intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is critical to the sustained success of the motor vehicle parts manufacturing industry, the largest sector of manufacturing jobs in the United States.
MEMA supports the imposition of tariffs on specific goods but believes this widespread approach of applying tariffs on roughly $200B of goods will hurt U.S. companies, put jobs at risk, and negatively impact consumers. MEMA supports stronger bilateral engagement, where China and the U.S. work together to protect the valuable IP of our members or leveraging the powerful relationships the U.S. has with other trading partners to pressure China to enforce their own IP laws and comply with international IP laws and regulations.
In August, MEMA testified before the United States Trade Representative (USTR) against these tariffs. During its testimony, MEMA highlighted that IP theft protections are critical but argued that tariffs on motor vehicle parts manufacturers will be ineffective in obtaining these goals: to the contrary prohibitively high tariffs on these products will disproportionately harm U.S. businesses, including the motor parts and equipment manufacturers MEMA represents.