Auto Tariffs Off the Table for 180 Days, Trump Claims

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
auto tariffs off the table for 180 days trump claims

U.S. President Donald Trump pushed the threat of tariffs on imported vehicles to the background on Friday, announcing a 180-day pause as the country negotiates trade agreements with Japan and the European Union.

The delay comes a day ahead of a Saturday deadline imposed by the Commerce Department. In February, the department delivered the findings of an investigation on whether auto imports represent a national security threat to the United States. The report, not seen by the public, issued recommendations to the White House.

Trump has long used the threat of import tariffs to bring trading partners to the table, especially the EU. The region fired back with threats of its own. With negotiations underway, Trump is allowed to push back the decision to impose tariffs by six months, though he can still choose to impose them at any time.

The president said Friday that he directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to secure agreements “to address the threatened impairment” of national security by incoming foreign vehicles.

“United States defense and military superiority depend on the competitiveness of our automobile industry and the research and development that industry generates,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a statement reported by CNBC. “The negotiation process will be led by United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and, if agreements are not reached within 180 days, the President will determine whether and what further action needs to be taken.”

Trump said his aim is to improve the “domestic conditions of competition” by reducing imports. Ideally, he’d love to see every vehicle sold in the U.S. built in the U.S., though that dream scenario isn’t in the cards.

Numerous automakers have come out against the idea of import tariffs, among them General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Each warns of higher consumer prices if such a move comes to pass.

As the country’s trade focus turns to automobiles, food and clothing companies warn that last week’s raising of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods (from 10 percent to 25 percent) also stands to hit American consumers in the wallet. As reported by Reuters, Del Monte, Walmart, and Macy’s have publicly stated that the tariffs will have an impact on their business, suggesting the added costs could be passed on to consumers.

[Image: BMW]

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  • Jeff S Some of us don't care either way we are not into this type of car. Most of these will be stored in garages waiting for their value to go up. As someone above noted this is an old body style which is retro 70s Challenger which after researching it came out in the 2008 MY which means a long run for a model that is in its 16th year. I have always liked these but if I bought one I would not spend this kind of money on one probably get the V-6 version and use it as a family car but then I am not into drag racing or muscle cars. For the type of car it is it has a decent rear seat and not too bad of a trunk. Most of us are not going to spend 100k for any vehicle at least currently so its not something most of us will buy and stick in a garage waiting for its value to increase. I am glad that these editions came out for those who can afford them and it keeps a little more color into what has become a very dull vehicle market but then with age I pick the dull appliance like reliable vehicle because that's what I need. Impressive car but not for me.
  • Jonathan The Germans. So organized they can appear disorganized. I agree with some others, classic names like Thunderbird, Imperial, Grand Prix, Ambassador etc. just have more appeal.
  • Bobbysirhan A friend had one when they first came out. He was CFO of some green California company and could charge the Volt at work. At home, the PHEV gave him an excuse to make his wife park her nicer car outdoors while the Volt get their condo's one-car garage. He liked the Volt, and he spent very little on energy during the 'first one's free!' era of EV ownership. Of course, the green company went bust soon after, and he wound up with a job that involved far more driving and ultimately the need for a more substantial car. I drove the Volt once after his wife had made a return trip to Los Angeles, depleting the battery. I don't know what a first gen Volt drives like with a charged battery, but it was really gutless with two adults, a yellow lab, and a dead battery. My other memory of it was that it had a really cramped back seat for a car that was about as large as a Civic. My friend who bought it liked it though, and that's not always been the case for GM vehicles.
  • MrIcky I think the Shakedown is more my speed of the last call editions- but this is impressive.
  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.