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 RossHouse chairman threatens to find Justice official in contempt of Congress DOJ rejects Oversight subpoena unless agency lawyer is permitted to attend Third judge blocks citizenship question from 2020 census 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. WalorskiSome in GOP fear Buttigieg run for governor A tax reform error is harming restaurants and costing jobs Bipartisan House bill would fix GOP tax law's 'retail glitch' MORE (R-Ind.), Terri SewellTerrycina (Terri) Andrea SewellDems counter portrait of discord Congress should look into its own taxes and travel, not just Trump's To protect the vote, we must protect the courts MORE (D-Ala.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyPermanence for CBMTRA is a small business win across America House, Senate tax-writers offer bipartisan bill to modernize IRS The fear of colorectal cancer as a springboard for change MORE (R-Pa.) and Ron KindRonald (Ron) James KindPermanence for CBMTRA is a small business win across America Dems struggle to unite behind drug price plan Bipartisan IRS reform bill heads to House floor 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 TrumpGrassroots America shows the people support Donald Trump Trump speaks to rebel Libyan general attacking Tripoli Dem lawmaker: Mueller report shows 'substantial body of evidence' on obstruction 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.