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Could Trump's Section 232 auto tariff threat be a turning point?

Source: autonews.com   ( Home & Auto > Auto > Manufacturers )

Feb 12, 2019 7:58 AM 1+ week ago

New automobiles await exporting at the Port of Bremerhaven in Germany, WASHINGTON Not many issues galvanize every segment of the auto industry, from domestic producers and import brands to suppliers, unions, shippers and dealers. But give President Donald Trump credit for achieving things others wouldn't even try. In his zeal to upend U.S. trade policy, he hasn't just brought all of those disparate sectors together. He has also managed to bring members of Congress from both parties and chambers together in opposition to his threat to impose tariffs on imported vehicles and auto parts. With a report expected within days from the Commerce Department declaring auto imports a national security threat, two new sets of bipartisan bills in the Senate and House aim to curb Trump's authority to use national security as a pretext for such trade actions. Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 currently gives the Commerce Department the power to investigate national security implications of trade imbalances and allows the president to act unilaterally on the agency's recommendations. The latest bills would require the president to get congressional approval for any Section 232 actions, more clearly define the national security impact of trade policies and place more responsibility to investigate such cases in the hands of the Defense Department. Other legislation being put forward would go even further. A bill introduced by Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, would subject any executive branch trade restrictions to congressional approval. The Association of Global Automakers, the American International Automobile Dealers Association and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association are among 51 trade associations that support the bill. "With our economic growth and job creation right now, a trade deficit alone in automobile parts would appear insufficient to trigger restrictions based on national security," Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said on the Senate floor in Read more.

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