Trump aims at NAFTA allies with imported-vehicle tariffs

Trump Considering New Tariffs on Imported Cars and Trucks			The Associated Press		23 May 2018

The Trump administration is considering new tariffs on imported cars in a move that trade analysts said was created to put pressure on Mexico during the final stages of negotiations for a new North American trade deal.

It was not clear, however, whether Trump's tweet was referring to a possible breakthrough in the talks.

The news comes the same day that President Donald Trump teased "big news coming soon" for American auto workers.

In a separate statement released by the White House, Trump said he had "instructed" Ross to "consider" kicking off the probe. Almost half of the vehicles sold in the USA are imported, with numerous vehicles coming from assembly plants in Mexico and Canada. A 1960s-era law allows the president to impose tariffs and other protectionist measures for industries deemed vital to national security.

The U.S. remains far apart on the talks over rewriting the trade pact with Canada and Mexico, with the discussions at an impasse over rules for auto production.

The tariffs would be imposed through a Section 232 investigation, similar to the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed earlier this year.

According to government statistics, in 2017 the United States imported 8.3 million vehicles worth $192bn (£144bn), and exported nearly 2 million vehicles worth $57bn (£43bn).

Critics fear that other countries will retaliate or use national security as a pretext to impose trade sanctions of their own.

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He revisited the possibility again on May 11, when he floated the idea of a 20 percent tariff on imported autos during a White House meeting with senior executives of 10 major automakers, a person familiar with the meeting said.

The proposed import tax was seen as an additional pressure point in the negotiations, with Mexico and Canada already scheduled to lose their exemption from Trump's metals tariffs in little more than a week.

"I am not happy with their requests".

Although the White House has not previously indicated it was mulling a Section 232 probe into vehicle imports, Trump has recently lashed out at auto imports from the European Union and China.

But he says, "we will win and will win big". He said America's neighbors have been "very spoiled because nobody's done this but I will tell you that what they ask for is not fair".

Presiden implies deal on NAFTA is near, but others dispute the notion.

The U.S. has been demanding that a percentage of a car's content of auto parts originate in a country - the U.S. or Canada - with average auto worker wages of about $15 an hour to qualify for NAFTA's duty-free status.

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