Legendary businessman, Twitter obsessive and occasional president Donald Trump wants to introduce big tariffs on imported cars to protect US jobs, citing national security concerns.
The Commerce Department has launched an investigation into the threat posed by imported cars, trucks and car parts, with a view to imposing tariffs that Trump hopes will help the domestic auto industry grow.
According to Politico, the likes of Toyota, Nissan and Aston Martin have “expressed alarm” at the news, while John Bozzella, CEO of Global Automakers, a trade association and lobbying group representing the interests of international auto makers in the US, called it “a bad day for American consumers”.
He said: “The U.S. auto industry is thriving and growing. Thirteen, soon to be 14 companies, produced nearly 12 million cars and trucks in America last year. To our knowledge, no one is asking for this protection. This path leads inevitably to fewer choices and higher prices for cars and trucks in America.”
The news comes as Trump heads off to attempt to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico – two of the three biggest vehicle importers to the US. NAFTA allows free trade between the three countries, but Trump thinks the US gets a bum deal.
Before heading to Long Island for crunch talks, he said: “NAFTA is very difficult. Mexico has been very difficult to deal with. Canada has been very difficult to deal with. They have been taking advantage of the United States for a long time. I am not happy with their requests. But I will tell you, in the end, we win.
“We will win, and we’ll win big.”