Trade

Trump is Delaying His Car Tariffs

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump's Department of Commerce completed their sham "investigation" earlier this year and declared that imports of foreign cars and car parts are a threat to national security.

That predetermined finding opened the legal doorway for Trump to impose tariffs on foreign cars and parts within six months and a decision is due this week; a decision that Trump is reportedly going to delay.

Politico first reported that Trump will delay his tariffs on foreign cars for another six months, but there's still a slim possibility that he'll impose them now.

President Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he is putting off a decision on whether to impose tariffs on European Union autos for another six months, a person familiar with the decision said. [...]

The person familiar with the decision cautioned there is always uncertainty surrounding Trump’s final determination when it comes to trade and tariffs. But barring some unforeseen development, the president is expected to announce another six-month delay, the person said.

Politico's report frames this as Trump sticking the issue in his back pocket so he can pull it out during the campaign if he needs or wants to.

I think that's a reasonable assessment and one that we've also made here a time or two. Trump's trade war is more about theater than it is about actual policy and I would say that's also true for most critics of global trade who are big on pointing fingers but short on specific accusations or practical solutions.

Tariffs on foreign cars and car parts would be more economically devastating to Americans than foreign companies and it's an unequivocally good thing if Trump has decided not to impose them. Tariffs on foreign cars and parts would lead to mass layoffs at factories here in America that build foreign cars, layoffs at dealerships that sell the cars, and layoffs at workshops that service the cars. Logistics companies would lose business and entire communities could go under.

I believe Politico's report that Trump will delay his tariffs for six months, but if he decides otherwise at the last minute I would expect to see him impose tariffs on European cars and parts while sparing other countries.

  • Draxiar

    What counts as a foreign car these days? Not only are parts from every car company made all over the world but more “Japanese” cars are made in the U.S than in Japan. If it crosses the border is that considered foreign? I imagine that in his bird seed brain it is.

  • muselet

    Leaving aside the assertion that importing cars and car parts is a threat to national security (‽), it doesn’t matter if Donald Trump decides to impose tariffs in a week or in six months. The uncertainty he’s causing is destructive to the global car industry, which is interconnected in weird and wonderful ways.

    This is not normal, and it wouldn’t be happening if Donald Trump knew anything about anything.

    –alopecia