US Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued the following statement in response to the Commerce Department announcement that it will launch an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 into whether imports of vehicles and auto parts harm national security:
“The US Chamber strongly opposes the administration’s threat to impose tariffs on auto imports in the name of national security. If this proposal is carried out, it would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.
“In fact, the US auto industry is prospering as never before. Production has doubled over the past decade, it exports more than any other industry, and it employs nearly 50 percent more Americans than it did in 2011. These tariffs risk overturning all of this progress.
“This isn’t about national security. The administration has already signaled its true objective is to leverage this tariff threat in trade negotiations with Mexico, Canada, Japan, the European Union, and South Korea. These allies provide nearly all US auto imports and are among America’s closest partners. Neither they nor these imports endanger our national security in any way.
“The president’s Section 232 authorities should not be abused in this way and doing so only encourages other nations to do likewise.
“The administration should consider the effects these tariffs would have on American consumers and businesses, and reverse course.”