U.S. Auto Tariffs Assessment Due This Week

February 11, 2019 at 12:00 AM

A report widely expected to conclude that imported cars and parts are a threat to U.S. national security is due no later than Feb. 17 from the Dept. of Commerce.

The analysis is likely to present an array of options to President Donald Trump, who ordered the assessment as part of his crusade to balance import-export rules among major auto-producing countries, Automotive News reports.

The report is expected to describe a range of options that includes tariffs on all imported cars and auto parts, a blend of import quotas and tariffs, taxes only on vehicles from specific countries or levies focused on specific types of vehicles and parts.

Whether the White House will act on any of the recommendations isn’t clear. Opposition to broad tariffs on cars is strong in both political parties. And unlike the U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, domestic carmakers haven’t asked for trade protections.

AN notes that many observers believe Trump would like to avoid the political and economic consequences of tariffs but wants to use the threat to impose them as leverage to prod such markets as Japan and Europe into lowering what he describes as unfair barriers to American-made vehicles.