Trump Declares Auto And Part Imports National Security Threat, Appears To Seek Quotas

President Trump has issued a proclamation directing the United States Trade Representative to negotiate agreements to address the national security threat posed by automotive imports.

According to the White House, the Department of Commerce’s report on the issue “concluded that imports of automobiles and certain automobile parts threaten to impair the national security of the United States.” The administration went on to say the country’s military superiority and defense are dependent on the competitiveness of the domestic auto industry and the research that it generates.

As a result, President Trump has directed Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to conduct negotiations to rectify the issue. The administration was vague on what this entails, but the proclamation seeks to “address the threatened impairment of … national security with respect to imported automobiles and certain automobile parts from the European Union, Japan, and any other country the Trade Representative deems appropriate.”

The proclamation goes on to say “domestic conditions of competition must be improved by reducing imports.” It also says the government needs to “adjust automotive imports so that they will not threaten to impair … national security.” This suggests the administration could be eyeing quotas or something similar.

Regardless of what the government has planned, Lighthizer has 180 days to complete the negotiation process. If agreements aren’t reached by then, the “President will determine whether and what further action needs to be taken.” That’s open ended, but Trump has repeatedly threatened to slap tariffs of automotive imports.

Despite the focus on national security, the issue really comes down to money and market share. As President Trump noted, “American-owned producers’ share of the global automobile market fell from 36 percent in 1995 to just 12 percent in 2017.” The administration also claims American-made automobiles now account for only 22 percent of automobiles sold in the United States.

Speaking of money, the government said over $191 (£150 / €171) billion worth of automobiles were imported in the United States in 2017. The administration also claimed “Unfair trade barriers, like those in the European Union, Japan, and other countries, further exacerbate the effects of imports on American automobile producers.”

It’s interesting to note that South Korea was excluded from the list, but it appears this was a result of the “significantly” improved United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement. According to the administration, that deal included “key improvements to help protect America’s automobile industry.”

Most automakers have been tight-lipped about the proclamation, but Toyota came out swinging calling it a “major set-back for American consumers, workers and the auto industry.” In particular, the company said it directly and indirectly employs over 475,000 people in the United States and has invested over $60 (£47 / €54) billion in the country. Toyota claims the proclamation sends a message that their “investments are not welcomed, and the contributions from each of our employees across America are not valued.”

Also Read: Trump Invokes National Security To Investigate Auto Imports, Could Lead To 25% Tariffs

Toyota went on to say limiting imported parts will impact all automakers since components are globally sourced. The company added that imposing quotas on imports would negatively impact consumers as they would have to pay higher prices and have less vehicles to choose from.

While Toyota was highly critical of the announcement, the company said “We remain hopeful that the upcoming negotiations on trade can be resolved quickly and yield what is best for the American consumer, workers and the auto industry.”

    • Ben

      I’m gonna be honest, at first I didn’t notice the face swap.


  • KenjiK

    I can’t wait to see Asia and Europe start retaliating…

    • Ben

      North American market is way too big for the cold shoulder. Its just business, throwing your weight around knowing you’re on of the biggest and most influential clients. In my profession, we have large accounts that do the same thing, knowing we can only “punish them” so much until we have to give in or start negotiations in their favor. Its not a “classy” move, but if you’re trying to be classy in big business, you won’t be there long.

      • KenjiK

        Can I remind you that China alone is a far bigger and “juicier” market?

  • Jason Miller

    He can shove his declaration where the sun don’t shine.

  • Paulbe

    It was all fun and games for the first two years, but something is going seriously wrong now.

    • tkindred

      This guys brain is in tatters

  • Jweisberg

    Yes, like Bottygey or maybe horse face Beto or even better communist Bernie.

    • Jason Miller

      Bernie FTW. One more year…

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    And yet here you are again.

  • Mr. EP9

    Yet you insist on coming here to complain. If you don’t like the guy, that’s fine, but complaining every time you see his face in an article makes you look childish. Get over it.

  • Honda NSX-R

    I don’t think the tariffs are actually gonna happen as much as he cries about it. Maybe he’s being smart about this issue and is just trying to motivate manufacturers to build more cars and parts in the US.

  • Jason Miller

    They did that to themselves.

    • VSD 奥け遺

      Judging by his username…yeah nevermind.


  • Jweisberg

    I am an American and I will support any politician that is for American. You people with TDS need help.


      • Jweisberg

        What record? he was/ is a mayor, he has done nothing in big government, he joined the reserve in 2009 and he went to Afghanistan for 6 months in 2014.
        “I spent some days entirely on research and meetings, other days as a driver and armed escort for my commander and colleagues.”

        I see no where in his 6 months military duty where he was in any combat. It seems to me that he just signed up to further his political career. Just research the unit he was in.

        You are just a sad troll. So sad

        • Enter Ranting

          How much “big government” experience did the moron currently in the White House have before he ran? None? Was it absolutely NO government experience at all? None, he ran on his business record, which it turns out was an absolute joke. Drumpf is a LOUSY businessman who constantly relied on his daddy to bail him out.

          And you’re one to comment on someone’s military service. What branch of the military were you in again? The same one as President Bonespurs? Moron.

          • Jweisberg

            LOL, you were the one that said to look at his record. LMAO. I never claimed to be a combat vet. I have worked for government for almost 20 years. You need to do a better job at trolling.

          • Enter Ranting

            Wait, because you’ve worked for government for 20 years you have a keener insight into Mayor Pete’s record than the rest of us? In what capacity and at what level do you work for government? Senior Telepathy Expert?

    • Stigasawuswrecks

      Trump’s Dumbass Supporters?

    • Enter Ranting

      The Fox talking points are getting tiresome. Get some new material.

      • Jweisberg

        Fox? You need better trolling material.

        • Enter Ranting

          Your lack of intelligent comebacks tells me all I need to know about you.


  • Astonman

    The American car companies have been in decline since the Seventies because of their arrogance thinking Americans will buy whatever crap they throw out and bad management. They’ve had ample opportunities to rectify the situation and have not. Not Obama or any president prior fault. Blame the American people for buying foreign made. Those companies invest in our country, and you and this Administration is complaining?

  • Astonman

    China last year sold 28 million cars compared to US 17 million. That’s a huge difference. Their middle class is 400 million – larger than our population. They have buying power. They are dictating what cars will be like in the future. I remembered reading an article 3 years back of how a CEO of a European company was frustrated with how the Chinese like chrome on everything and he said this would dictate how other countries get their designs. And since China is pushing for electric cars, they will drive other companies to do the same (which they are doing). The Chinese also like bigger vehicles to be chauffeured in hence the proliferation of models with extended wheelbase. I have not been back in China for 4 years. But prior to that, I was there almost twice a year for business for 5 years. I watched as how many automobiles filled the streets each time. I was shocked at the high price but people afforded them. They have the size to throw some weight around – which they have by forcing any company coming in to work with an existing Chinese company.

  • Stigasawuswrecks

    Judging by your user name it’s highly unlikely to glean anything of intelligence from you.

  • Stigasawuswrecks
  • MarketAndChurch

    He’s abusing this like the last 3 presidents abused executive orders. I can see his Republican predecessor doing the same, claiming something to be a national security threat to undemocraticaly make these kinds of moves, or the Democrats using this for Climate Change. No bueno.

  • performante

    This clown and his administration are HORRIBLE.

  • disqus_6AHa0ycWUI

    Research the great depression, he is following the script that led to it word for word. If something doesn’t change fast, this country is in deep shit. Pure and simple

  • First Huawei and now this. It’s actually embarrassing.

  • pxsupply

    Would you care to explain how you would even think that thought? With that mindset, how many countries have the US “invaded”?

    • Mike D

      Lmao, Cobrajet’s comment was very sarcastic.

      • pxsupply

        I guess LOL

  • Enter Ranting

    Awww, snowflake’s feefees were hurt by mean ol’ Obammy!

  • Emoto

    I like that we have a president who uses bold language as a lever to push for better trade deals.

  • Alexandro Pietro

    USA wake-up.

  • Alexandro Pietro

    Problem´s Japan AND Germany,too many cars saled in USA!!


  • Jweisberg

    LOL, typical troll. LMAO. The life of a troll is so sad. Go ahead and login to your sub accounts to upvote your own post.

  • man

    Wrong my friend and quite offensive. Germans are not invading the US. I must remind you that we would not have been able to achieve a moon landing without the contribution of the Dr. Wernher von Braun. Have you seen the hand-written notes at Red Stone. Probably not. If anything, we have taken the German secrets for ourselves over 60 years ago. Both countries have evolved and Trump’s position aligns with the old Soviet one, so I cannot support such nonsense.

  • man

    Ford did not take bailouts and GM had to be bailed out because GMAC went into home mortgages. Obama did the reasonable thing to keep the recession from turning into a depression.

  • Astonman

    You’re correct their buying power is not the same as the U.S. but it is relative to their economy. Doesn’t matter how many Americans buy more than one car. The fact is they sold 28 million cars internally compared to our 17 million. If you were an automotive executive, are you going to look at cars sold or population – I would hope you’re looking at sales opportunity – 10 million more sales and with a growing middle class. I can’t tell you all the reasons why Chinese companies are moving production out of China, but I can give you two:
    1. As of 4 years ago, clothing manufactures were moving their companies out to countries like Bangladesh because the Chinese wages were rising. The competition for Western companies to get the customer’s purchases to have the best prices and maximizing profits for Wall Street that it forced these Chinese companies to look to even lower wage countries. That’s pretty amazing since how low those wages in China were already. 2. Tariff war going on.
    Yes it’s par the course for design changes when you’re building for a certain country. United States have led that arena with our purchasing power – but that is changing and China is going to dictate this – and I have 10 million reason why it may change how we get our cars. Of which one is electric. They want to be the leader in electric vehicles because they lack access to oil. Now you’re seeing all of the automakers heading in this direction.

    • Ben

      The best selling vehicle in China in 2018 was a small van that is co-produced (think of BRZ/GT86/FRS) with GM and a Chinese brand. Its called a Wuling Hongguang, a small van that has a maximum price around $12,500 USD. This vehicle sold approximately 530k units, impressive.

      However, looking to the American market, in the same year, the top selling vehicle was the Ford F150, which sold at a BASE price of $27,000. The next most sold vehicle was the Chevy Silverado at approximately 590k units. This vehicle also had an BASE MSRP that was more than double the maximum MSRP of China’s most prolific sales leader.

      What I’m getting at is, you can’t just look at the number of a population and say a company will be more successful there. You can’t look at a sales sheet and say they sold 60% more cars in China, its more of a success than the North American market. You need to break down what was being sold and to whom.

      Yes, China is selling more vehicles, but they’re nearly half the price on a whole. This is not just an isolated example with the Wuling Hongguang. Lastly, the numbers that truly need to be factored here are in relation to doing business in China. Many companies have heard about the cheap manufacturing cost and set sale for the land of red, but there is more to opening and running a business than pure manufacturing cost. That cost sneaks up on companies and they decide to pull out and either set up shop in Mexico or other Asian countries.

      • Astonman

        I see your point on pricing of the products – but as an executive you would want to jump in and build a brand as the market matures or you could be outside looking in. That’s why all the major manufacturers are there. There are headaches – especially in having to give up your technology. Very smart on the Chinese to request this. But you have headaches everywhere – even in the States. If it was easy – everyone would be successful.

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