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An Open Letter to MEMA Members Regarding President Trump’s Imposition of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

Date: March 14, 2018

MEMA has worked closely with the Trump administration to expand jobs and to increase U.S. competitiveness. However, the administration’s decision to impose steep, across the board tariffs on aluminum and steel coming into the United States –  is dangerous. In fact, it could put the very jobs and competitiveness he hopes to help in harm’s way. 

MEMA’s message to the Trump administration has been loud and clear: tariffs are not the cure we need.

Since day one, we have worked hard on your behalf to establish a solid relationship with the new Trump administration. Senior MEMA team members have met with President Trump’s top advisors and worked to ensure that he understands our industry and recognizes its critical role in the U.S. economy. We drove home the fact that our industry directly employs more than 871,000 Americans and supports the jobs of millions more.

In multiple public comments and in a letter to President Trump, we made our concerns about the negative effects of tariffs clear: tariffs will be nothing less than detrimental to the motor vehicle parts supplier industry. While we support the administration’s focus on strong domestic steel and aluminum markets, tariffs will limit access to necessary specialty products, raise the cost of motor vehicles to consumers, and impair the industry’s ability to successfully compete globally. Tariffs on steel and aluminum would hurt the largest sector of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., putting the well-being of many Americans -- and the nation’s economic security -- at risk.  

Within minutes of President Trump’s March 1 announcement of his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, we released a statement, which was also made available to the national media. The very next day, MEMA’s position was reiterated in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and other national media as well as multiple industry publications. Within days, we held dozens of meetings with legislators raising the alarm that tariffs would put jobs and economic viability at risk. When President Trump signed the tariff proclamations last week, we issued a new, strongly-worded statement and went back to the press. As this evolves, we continue to secure meetings to carry our message forward on Capitol Hill and with the national media.

While the exclusion of Canada and Mexico may help in the short term, we are disappointed that President Trump chose to disregard our message and allow these tariffs to take effect. But we will not stop our efforts on behalf of our members. We will continue to communicate our concerns about these tariffs to the Trump administration and legislators in the hope that we may mitigate long-term negative effects. 

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