(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump has received the
findings of a probe into whether imported vehicles pose a
national security threat, which could lead the U.S. to impose
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has submitted his
recommendations to Trump, the department said in a statement on
Sunday in Washington, without offering any insights into the
findings. Trump has 90 days to decide whether to act on the
Commerce started the investigation in May under Section 232
of the Trade Expansion Act, the same provision the
administration used last year to slap tariffs on steel and
aluminum. The car probe covers imports of vehicles including
SUVs, vans and light trucks, as well as auto parts. American and
foreign-based auto manufacturers have been lobbying against it.
Ross had until Sunday to deliver his findings to the
president, who has the final say on whether to impose tariffs.
Trump has threatened levies of as much as 25 percent on foreign-
made vehicles. Companies and governments from Europe to Asia
have warned Trump that tariffs on car imports would hurt the
U.S. economy and disrupt the global auto industry.
An auto trade war would deal a blow to carmakers from
General Motors Co. to Toyota Motor Corp., which have built their
supply chains to take advantage of countries with low duties.
The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates that
the tariffs would add as much as $2,270 to the cost of U.S.-
built cars and $6,875 to the cost of imported cars and trucks.
“Auto tariffs would be a disaster,” Peter Boockvar, chief
investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, said last week.
“So many parts from so many places that criss-cross countries go
into the making of an automobile. Of all the tariffs, this would
be the most pervasive.”
Trump’s Trade War and the Emerging Global Fallout:
Trump has 90 days after officially receiving the report to
decide whether to act should the department conclude that auto
imports are a security threat.
Commerce could recommend a variety of options to restrict
imports, including implementing tariffs and quotas. The
president then has 15 days to act after announcing he will move
forward with measures.
Trump has agreed not to impose auto tariffs on Europe while
the two sides work on a trade deal, and Canada and Mexico
negotiated side letters to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that
spares them from new U.S. duties on cars, subject to a cap.