Toyota hits back over Trump signaling Japanese investments 'not welcomed'

Toyota Motor Corp. issued a rare rebuke of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE on Friday after he declared that some auto sector imports were a threat to national security.

The sharply worded statement from Japan’s largest automaker hit the president’s claim that the U.S. needs to defend against foreign cars.

"Today’s proclamation sends a message to Toyota that our investments are not welcomed, and the contributions from each of our employees across America are not valued," the company said.

The company noted that it directly and indirectly employs more than 475,000 people in the U.S. and has invested more than $60 billion, including 10 manufacturing plants.

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"Most every American has a Toyota story and we are very proud of the fact that over 36 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles are still on U.S. roads today. Our operations and employees contribute significantly to the American way of life, the U.S. economy and are not a national security threat," the company said in the statement.

Trump on Friday issued a proclamation directing the U.S. trade representative to negotiate agreements to "address the national security threat, which is causing harm to the American automobile industry."

"United States defense and military superiority depend on the competitiveness of our automobile industry and the research and development that industry generates," the White House said in a statement.

The president held off on imposing auto tariffs for 180 days amid ongoing negotiations with Japan and the European Union.

Toyota said the company remains “hopeful” that negotiations will be resolved quickly and “yield what is best for the American consumer, workers and the auto industry.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing 12 of the largest domestic and foreign carmakers, warned this week that imposing tariffs on auto imports could put as many as 700,000 American jobs at stake.

“The tariffs would also roll back the benefits from the Trump tax cut and have widespread impact across manufacturers, suppliers, and dealers in all 50 states,” the group said in a statement.