U.S. Started Investigation into Automotive Imports

The U.S. Department of Commerce an investigation into automobile imports to determine whether the U.S. imports of automobiles, including trucks, and automotive parts threaten U.S. national security. Nearly half of the vehicles sold in the U.S. are imported from Japan, Germany and South Korea, with many coming from assembly plants in Mexico and Canada.

The new U.S. investigation will be carried out under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, that the administration used to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Section 232 of the 1962 authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to conduct comprehensive investigations to determine the effects of imports of any article on the national security of the United States.

According to the The U.S. Department of Commerce, during the past 20 years, imports of passenger vehicles have grown from 32 percent of cars sold in the United States to 48 percent, while employment in motor vehicle production declined by 22 percent. Now, American owned vehicle manufacturers in the United States account for only 20 percent of global research and development in the automobile sector, and American auto part manufacturers account for only 7 percent in that industry.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said:

There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry. The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent investigation into whether such imports are weakening our internal economy and may impair the national security.

Automobile manufacturing has long been a significant source of American technological innovation. This investigation will consider whether the decline of domestic automobile and automotive parts production threatens to weaken the internal economy of the United States, including by potentially reducing research, development, and jobs for skilled workers in connected vehicle systems, autonomous vehicles, fuel cells, electric motors and storage, advanced manufacturing processes, and other cutting-edge technologies.