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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 RossCanada arrests Huawei CFO facing US extradition for allegedly violating Iran sanctions: report Stocks slide after Trump warns China: 'I am a Tariff Man' George H.W. Bush remembered at Kennedy Center Honors 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 SewellBlack Caucus chairman pushes back against committee term limits Dems vow quick action to bolster voting rights upon taking power Progressive rep says she’s ‘very disappointed' by Barbara Lee’s loss in bid for Dem caucus chair MORE (D-Ala.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyGOP lawmaker Mike Kelly wins reelection in Pennsylvania WaPo fact-checker accuses Republicans of misleading voters about fact-checks The Memo: Rust Belt race hinges on Trump MORE (R-Pa.) and Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindWhile G-20 Summit was promising for US- China trade relations, Congress must still push for an exclusion process WHIP LIST: Pelosi seeks path to 218 How voting present could secure the Speakership for Nancy Pelosi 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 TrumpJoaquín Castro: Trump would be 'in court right now' if he weren't the president or 'privileged' Trump flubs speech location at criminal justice conference Comey reveals new details on Russia probe during House testimony 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.