Washington, May 24 (IANS) US President Donald Trump ordered the Commerce Department to start a study into determining the need to impose import duties on autos and parts.
“I instructed Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, to consider initiating a Section 232 investigation into imports of automobiles, including trucks, and automotive parts to determine their effects on America’s national security,” Efe news reported quoting Trump as saying in a statement on Wednesday, after meeting Ross to discuss the current state of the US car industry.
The largest exporter of cars to the US is Mexico, followed by Canada, Japan, Germany, and South Korea, according to data from the Department of Commerce.
Trump expressed dissatisfaction with the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, an agreement that he had threatened to break during the election campaign.
Also during the campaign, Trump made the preservation of the auto industry one of the pillars of his protectionist economic proposals, a promise that allowed him to win in Michigan, where most of the auto industry is concentrated.
Since Trump came to power, the Commerce Department has initiated more than 100 investigations over unfair competition, many of which have ended in the imposition of tariffs.
One such investigation resulted in the Trump administration imposing a 10 per cent tariff on aluminium and a 25 per cent tariff on steel, although he exempted some allies like Argentina, Brazil, Australia and South Korea.