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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 RossSessions attacks judge who ordered officials to sit for depositions in challenges to Census citizenship question Harris accuses GOP of ‘weaponizing’ 2020 Census DOJ: Commerce chief spoke with Bannon, Sessions about census citizenship question 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. WalorskiElection Countdown: Trump jumps into Ohio special election fight | What to watch in Tennessee primaries | Koch network freezes out Republicans who crossed them | Dead heat in Texas, Nevada Senate races | How celebs are getting into the midterms Indiana Dem candidate vows not to support Pelosi for Speaker if elected On The Money: Commerce to review uranium imports | Lawmakers urge Trump not to impose auto tariffs | White House wants steeper cuts to EPA funding | Google hit with massive B fine MORE (R-Ind.), Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellDemocrats unite to expand Social Security Senate panel postpones election security bill markup over lack of GOP support Hillicon Valley: FBI fires Strzok after anti-Trump tweets | Trump signs defense bill with cyber war policy | Google under scrutiny over location data | Sinclair's troubles may just be beginning | Tech to ease health data access | Netflix CFO to step down MORE (D-Ala.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyThe Memo: Rust Belt race hinges on Trump How the Trump tax law passed: The final stretch How the Trump tax law passed: Breaking the gridlock  MORE (R-Pa.) and Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindThe bipartisan PACT Act would ensure access to life-saving bone marrow transplants for Medicare beneficiaries House Dems punt action on rule change for Speaker nominee Allow HSA dollars to be used for over-the-counter drugs 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 TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF's Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East 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.