Trump orders Commerce Department to examine tariffs on auto imports

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The Trump administration's threat to slap heavy tariffs on imported cars to protect USA national security has sparked an outcry not only, as might be expected, from the auto industry, but also from members of his own party.

In a separate statement, President Donald Trump said: "Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a Nation".

The Journal, citing sources in the auto industry, said the US' moves to retaliate likely would face significant opposition from trading partners and auto dealers that sell imports.

"Contrary to the assumption underlying the investigation on import vehicles, the US auto industry is thriving", Bozella said.

Officials confirmed overnight that an inquiry had been opened into whether imported vehicles and parts "threaten to impair the national security" of the United States.

"If he can say, 'We've reached some kind of an agreement or framework where we can build more cars, build more American parts in North America, in the United States, ' that's a great sign to his voters about more jobs", Ambrose said.

"China will pay close attention to the progress of the US investigation, conduct a comprehensive assessment of the possible impact and firmly defend our legitimate rights and interests", Gao told reporters at a news conference.

"We are confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk to the U.S.", Bergquist said. To stand up to legal scrutiny, the Trump administration would, at least, have to go through the motions of conducting an internal review on the impact of auto imports on national security.

"The U.S. auto industry is thriving and growing", said John Bozzella, chief executive of Global Automakers, a trade group representing Toyota, Nissan Motor Co.

"I will tell you in the end, we win".

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It came hours after Mr Trump had promised "big news" for his country's carmakers. Formal re-negotiations between Canada, Mexico and the United States have been ongoing since last summer.

USA tariffs could cause chaos for a Canadian auto industry that is heavily integrated between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Trump has been an active proponent of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement since taking office, but that those specific talks had stalled due to disputes concerning provisions. Canada was next at 22 percent, followed by Japan (21 percent), Germany (11 percent) and South Korea (8 percent).

How Divisive Would These Tariffs Be in the United States?

Members of the Commons worldwide trade committee are in Washington, D.C. this week for a series of meetings. "He is clearly abusing this national security law simply to get his tariff fix".

Although a large portion of the US's most popular vehicle models, including those from foreign brands (such as the upcoming BMW X7), are already manufactured within its borders, many are imported from other countries.

"While President Trump continues to insult Canada with his negative comments, New Democrats are working hard to ensure the re-negotiation of NAFTA produces a deal that is good for Canadian workers and communities", she said".

Trump had earlier blamed the United States neighbors to the north and south for being "difficult" in talks to renegotiate the pact.

Volkswagen said "unilateral protectionism has not helped anyone in the long term", and that "only free and fair trade ensures prosperity gains".

According to government statistics, in 2017 the USA imported 8.3 million vehicles worth $192bn (£144bn), and exported nearly 2 million vehicles worth $57bn (£43bn).