US automakers warn of thousands of job losses from Trump's new tariffs
28 June 2018
Two major auto trade groups on Wednesday warned the Trump administration that imposing up to 25 per cent tariffs on imported vehicles would cost hundreds of thousands of auto jobs, dramatically hike prices on vehicles and threaten industry spending on self-driving cars, Reuters reported.
It said a coalition representing major foreign automakers including Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG, BMW AG, and Hyundai Motor Co, said the tariffs would harm automakers and US consumers.
The US administration in May launched an investigation into whether imported vehicles pose a national security threat and on Friday Trump threatened to impose a 20-per cent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars.
On Tuesday, he tweeted, "We are finishing our study of Tariffs on cars from the EU in that they have long taken advantage of the US in the form of Trade Barriers and Tariffs. In the end it will all even out - and it won't take very long."
International automakers have pushed back against the Administration’s proposal, based ostensibly on “national security” grounds, to impose high tariffs on vehicle imports and parts.
On Wednesday, John Bozzella, President and CEO, Global Automakers, which represents 14 foreign automakers, said, “These tariffs will harm today’s US auto industry, which is comprised of fourteen auto manufacturers, all of which are global and 10 of which are international automakers," said .
He said each of these companies employed American workers to produce cars in the United States, and tariffs would substantially increase prices for consumers.
“There is no national security justification for taxing imports of vehicles and parts or discriminating between global companies headquartered here or in allied countries. Every US production facility in the industry could be made available in a national emergency, and the 130,000 Americans who work directly for international automakers are no less patriotic or willing to serve their country in a time of crisis than any other American,” Bozzella added.
According to the Washington DC-based Association of Global Automakers, "The greatest threat to the US automotive industry at this time is the possibility of the administration imposing duties on imports, which would raise prices for American consumers, limit their choices, and suppress sales and production of vehicles in the US.
Another trade body, The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing General Motors Co , Ford Motor Co, Daimler AG, Toyota and others, urged the administration in separate comments filed Wednesday not to go ahead with the tariffs.
"We believe the resulting impact of tariffs on imported vehicles and vehicle components will ultimately harm US economic security and weaken our national security," the group said, calling the tariffs a "mistake" and adding imposing them "could very well set a dangerous precedent that other nations could use to protect their local market from foreign competition."
The Alliance said its analysis of 2017 auto sales data showed a 25 percent tariff on imported vehicles would result in an average price increase of $5,800, which would boost costs to American consumers by nearly $45 billion annually.
"We are already in the midst of an intense global race to lead on electrification and automation. The increased costs associated with the proposed tariffs may result in diminishing the U.S.' competitiveness in developing these advanced technologies," it said.
Reuters said, both automotive trade groups cited a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics that the cost to US jobs from the import duties would be 195,000 jobs and could be as high as 624,000 jobs if other countries retaliate.