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Automakers, manufacturers oppose Trump call for auto tariffs

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Associated Press

WASHINGTON

Automakers, manufacturers and classic-car enthusiasts are coming out against President Donald Trump’s plan to consider taxing imported cars, trucks and auto parts.

General Motors warned in a filing Friday with the U.S. Commerce Department the threat of auto tariffs “risks undermining GM’s competitiveness against foreign auto producers” by driving up the cost of imported components and raises the risk that GM will face retaliation in other countries.

Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112, which represents workers at GM’s Lordstown Assembly Complex, was unavailable for comment Friday night.

GM’s Chevrolet Cruze is made in Lordstown. Last week, due to declining small-car sales, the second shift at the plant was eliminated, affecting about 1,200 workers.

The National Association of Manufacturers said in its filing the tariff plan would “put the U.S. manufacturing sector at a global disadvantage, undermining growth and job creation throughout the United States.”

And Toyota Motor North America said the tariffs “would have a negative impact on all manufacturers, increasing the cost of imported vehicles as well as domestically produced vehicles that rely on imported parts” – such as the company’s Kentucky-built Camry.

Friday was the deadline for public comments on Trump’s call for a Commerce investigation into whether auto imports pose enough of a threat to U.S. national security to justify tariffs.

The president has cited national security concerns as the reason for slapping tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, drawing retaliatory tariffs from the European Union, Mexico, Canada, Turkey and India.

Car collector Guy Mace of Springfield, Mo., was one of many classic-car enthusiasts who wrote in to call for used cars and parts to be excluded from any tariff.

“Antique and classic cars [have] nothing to do with national security,” Mace wrote. “A wide-ranging industry is involved the collection of antique and classic cars, and literally thousands of car enthusiasts, auction houses and repair/restoration shops derive their livelihood from this industry.”