The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) has joined 29 other business organizations calling for Congress to support legislation that would place new limits on presidential authority to impose tariffs for national security reasons.
In a Jan 30 letter addressed to Congress, MEMA and the other groups supported the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019 (the BCTAA), which was introduced on the same day. The legislation, which amends Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, allows Congressional oversight of national security trade actions and has earned bipartisan support. As written now, Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, provides the President wide-ranging, unilateral abilities to impose tariffs if imports are deemed a national security threat.
The legislation “is critically needed in order to ensure a proper weighing of the overall national interest before tariffs or quotas go into effect. It is clear that these overall interests were not properly weighed in the case of steel and aluminum and there are proposals for future use in the autos sector that make this need for a balanced weighing of interests even more apparent,” the letter says. “It is now essential for Congress to reassert its Constitutional role in weighing whether trade actions related to national security are justified.”
The letter is just one part of an ongoing effort on the part of MEMA to reverse the imposition of Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum and stem the threat of additional Section 232 tariffs on motor vehicles and parts under the Trump administration.