Auto industry groups, lawmakers urge Trump administration to avoid tariffs on auto imports

Auto industry groups, lawmakers urge Trump administration to avoid tariffs on auto imports
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A bipartisan group of 149 members of Congress on Wednesday urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossHillicon Valley: Lawmakers press officials on 2020 election security | T-Mobile, Sprint execs defend merger before Congress | Officials charge alleged Iranian spy | Senate panel kicks off talks on data security bill Apple, IBM, Walmart join White House advisory board Supreme Court's ‘10th justice’ favors unusual tactic for Trump cases MORE to back away from threats of imposing tariffs on automobiles and automotive parts or risk damaging the U.S. economy.

In a letter led by Reps. Jackie WalorskiJacqueline (Jackie) R. WalorskiWhile G-20 Summit was promising for US- China trade relations, Congress must still push for an exclusion process Many authors of GOP tax law will not be returning to Congress Election Countdown: One week from midterms, House battlefield expands MORE (R-Ind.), Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellCongressional Black Caucus faces tough decision on Harris, Booker Former staffer accuses Jackson Lee of retaliation after rape claim Dems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour MORE (D-Ala.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyCongress needs to unite and pass this key infrastructure legislation Dems build case for obtaining Trump's tax returns House Dems unveil initial GOP targets in 2020 MORE (R-Pa.) and Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindSteel lobby's PR blitz can't paper over damaging effects of tariffs Congress should stop tariff power grab, bring balance to US trade policy Ocasio-Cortez sparks debate with talk of 70 percent marginal rate MORE (D-Wis.), the lawmakers warned that tariffs, quotas or other restrictions on the industry will greatly diminish the benefits of the auto industry.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could MORE is threatening a 25 percent tariff on vehicles and components imported into the United States.

The Commerce Department is conducting a Section 232 investigation to determine whether autos or auto parts should be classified as a national security threat. 

“We do not believe that imports of automobiles and automotive parts pose a national security threat," the lawmakers wrote.

"Rather, we believe the imposition of trade restrictions on these products could undermine our economic security," they said. 

Meanwhile, seven auto industry groups sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday urging him to drop the investigation that could lead to higher tariffs on imported autos and auto parts.

“Raising tariffs on autos and auto parts would be a massive tax on consumers who buy or service their vehicles — whether imported or domestically produced," the groups wrote.  

"These higher costs will inevitably lead to declining sales and the loss of American jobs, as well as an increase in vehicle service and repair costs that may result in consumers delaying critical vehicle maintenance,” said groups said. 

Print ads in Washington, D.C. area publications as well as digital ads on media sites were set to run Wednesday and Thursday.

On Thursday, the Commerce Department will hold a hearing on autos and national security as part of the investigation.

"We have come together as a united U.S. auto industry — domestic and international automobile manufacturers, suppliers, dealers and auto care businesses — to urge your administration to achieve fair trade through policies that won't jeopardize American jobs, our economy or U.S. technological leadership.

The seven groups signing the letter are: Auto Alliance, American Automotive Policy Council, AutoCare Association, American International Automotive Dealers Association, Global Automakers, Motor and Equipment Manufacturing Association and the National Automobile Dealers Association.