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MEMA Supports Bipartisan Effort to Stop Threat of Tariffs on Autos and Motor Vehicle Parts

Date: May 10, 2019

The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association applauds a bipartisan letter signed by 159 members of Congress requesting that White House officials advise the Trump administration against imposing tariffs on autos and motor vehicle parts on the basis of national security.

The letter, which was signed by 79 Democrats and 89 Republicans, was addressed to Director of National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and was sponsored by Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Ron Kind (D-WI), and  Drew Ferguson (R-GA).

“American auto workers, parts suppliers and retailers, dealers, vehicle service providers, and millions of consumer depend on a healthy and competitive U.S. auto industry. As you know, this vital sector employs nearly four percent of our total private sector workforce and is a key engine that powers our economy. However, if tariffs were to be implemented, new vehicle prices will likely increase, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs,” the letter reads. “We are also concerned that vehicles outside of the intended scope of the investigation will be subject to tariffs. Parts used in passenger vehicles may overlap with motorcycles, recreational vehicles, construction equipment, heavy-duty trucks, farming equipment, powersports vehicles, and others. Additionally, inevitable retaliatory tariffs from countries around the world, including our close allies, will cause further harm to American farmers, manufacturers, and consumers.”

MEMA, in its many interactions with the Trump administration, has expressed these same concerns in the wake of the Department of Commerce’s Section 232 national security investigation of imports of automobile and automotive parts. The report, which was completed in February and to date not made public, is now in President Trump’s hands. He could impose tariffs on auto parts as high as 25 percent. MEMA has argued that these broad, unilateral, and import-restrictive measures, if imposed, could jeopardize the 871,000 vehicle supplier jobs in the U.S., harm the global competitiveness of the U.S., and diminish investment in the U.S.

“American auto manufacturers, parts suppliers and retailers, dealers, and vehicle service providers have not asked for and do not need protection. Tariffs on autos will raise prices for American consumers and lower demand, ultimately leading to decreased U.S. production, investment and employment,” the letter concludes. “We urge you to do everything you can to avoid trade restrictions that would negatively impact the U.S. auto sector and undermine our economic security.”

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