Trump vaguely tweets about 'big news coming' for United States auto workers

Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted Canada and Mexico for being 'difficult' during NAFTA talks

Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted Canada and Mexico for being 'difficult' during NAFTA talks

The news outlet, quoting industry officials briefed on the broad outline of the plan, said the Trump administration is considering an inquiry to justify up to a 25 percent tariff on auto imports, which totaled $176 billion in 2017.

President Trump announced Wednesday that he had asked the Commerce Department to consider an investigation of automobile and auto-parts imports that could clear the way for imposing tariffs or quotas.

"China will pay close attention to the progress of the USA investigation, conduct a comprehensive assessment of the possible impact and firmly defend our legitimate rights and interests", Gao told reporters at a news conference.

"We urge the Administration to support policies that remove barriers to free trade and we will continue to work with them and provide input to achieve that goal", she said. "We are very dependent on the ability to bring in parts from other parts of the world for final production in the USA, and if that's no longer financially viable, the question becomes, is the production of vehicles in this country going to be financially viable?" She spoke to her counterparts, USA trade czar Robert Lighthizer and Mexican economic secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, on Monday and said they all agreed "to be in constant contact".

The United States imported 8.3m vehicles in 2017, worth $192bn, including 2.4m from Mexico, 1.8m from Canada, 1.7m from Japan, 930,000 from South Korea and 500,000 from Germany, according to U.S. government statistics.

If put in place, such tariffs would cause a substantial increase in the costs of the approximately 1.7 million vehicles and the more than $17-billion worth of parts shipped out of Canada to the United States annually.

In a separate statement, Donald Trump said: "Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a Nation".

Trump announced in March 2017 his administration would reevaluate the Obama-era rules, couching the move as one to encourage USA auto production and employment.

According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, whose agency will lead the investigation, "there is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from overseas have eroded our domestic auto industry".

If Trump chooses to move ahead with the tariffs, the protectionist maneuver may help energize his working-class base before November's midterm elections and turn them out to vote in key Senate races.

Trump vaguely tweets about 'big news coming' for United States auto workers

Trump appeared to hint at Wednesday's announcement with earlier tweets, saying: "There will be big news coming soon for our great American autoworkers". It is the same legal justification the administration used to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in March.

It's important to point out automobiles have been one of the most contentious topics in NAFTA negotiations, as the Trump administration reportedly wants to limit duty-free status to the vehicles that have their most of their parts created in the USA and North Americas. Having a robust automotive sector is considered vital to the country's national security.

"But I will tell you in the end we win, we will win and we'll win big", Trump said.

Amid talks of a potential trade war with China, President Trump threatens to raise tariffs on cars imported from China and other foreign countries.

The association warned in a statement that tariffs would push up auto prices for American families.

BMW, which along with Mercedes has expanded production capacity in the USA, said in its own statement that "barrier-free access to markets is therefore a key factor not only for our business model, but also for growth, welfare and employment throughout the global economy".

And while the investigation will look into imports from countries around the globe, Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments, surmised that Trump was really trying to send a message to the other two members of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

How many are tied to the auto industry?

"We will closely watch developments of the United States investigation, conduct a comprehensive assessment on its potential impact and resolutely safeguard our own legitimate interests", Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a weekly news briefing Thursday.

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