Welcome to Weise Wednesday! Throughout this blog series, we will share a brief Q&A with the former U.S. Commissioner of Customs, Mr. George Weise. If you have questions, we encourage you to send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Q. Where do we currently stand with President Trump’s threat to impose additional tariffs on imported automobiles and auto parts?

A. As discussed in a previous blogpost, the Department of Commerce (DOC) began an investigation in May 2018, at the request of the President, to determine whether imports of automobiles and parts were threatening the national security of the United States. The investigation was launched under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which authorizes the President to implement corrective actions, such as the imposition of additional tariffs, if an affirmative determination is made. Last year, the President imposed significant tariffs on steel and aluminum imports after a finding that such imports were threatening U.S. national security.

The DOC recently completed its 270-day investigation on this matter and submitted its recommendations to the President on February 17. The DOC has not disclosed any of the details of its recommendations, and the President has 90 days, or until May 17, 2019, to take action on the recommendations. At this point, nobody really knows where the President will come out on this one, but there is widespread speculation that he will choose to impose tariffs similar to those he imposed on steel and aluminum. 

Unlike the steel and aluminum cases, however, where the domestic producers of those products supported remedial action, the U.S. auto industry seems to be strongly united against it. The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association and the American Automobile Dealers Association have joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and many other trade associations to launch a massive lobbying campaign against the imposition of new tariffs. Many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have weighed in as well, urging the President to refrain from imposing new sanctions. 

All potentially affected parties are strongly urged to weigh in with the Administration and the Congress in the coming days to be sure your views are heard before a final decision is made that could adversely affect your interests. Time is running short.