A host of Japanese car manufacturers have expressed their disappointment at U.S. President Donald Trump deeming imported cars and parts to be a national security threat.
On Friday, the President agreed with the conclusion of the Commerce Department that the importation of foreign-made vehicles and auto parts have been threatening national security since the 1980s after they started to eat into the market share of American-owned car manufacturers.
In a statement, the influential Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, chaired by Toyota president Akio Toyoda, expressed his concern about Trump’s conclusion. Members of the trade group include Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Subaru, and others.
“We are dismayed to hear a message suggesting that our long-time contributions of investment and employment in the U.S. are not welcomed. As chairman, I am deeply saddened by this decision,” Toyoda said.
Trump wants to reduce the number of cars imported to the United States and claims that doing so will help local automakers to better invest in research and development. The White House has set a 180-day deadline for negotiating deals with Japan, the European Union, and other significant auto exporters, Bloomberg reports.
“Any trade restrictive measures would deliver a serious blow to the U.S. auto industry and economy, as it would not only disadvantage U.S. consumers, but also adversely affect the global competitiveness of U.S.-produced vehicles and suppress company investments in the U.S.,” Toyoda added.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association says that it provides more than 93,000 direct American jobs. Threats from Trump are thought to have played a role in Toyota’s decision to announce an additional $3 billion to a five-year spending plan in the United States.