Trump administration launches vehicle import probe

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said foreign imports may have "eroded" the US auto industry

Washington- US President Donald Trump has ordered a national security probe into vehicle imports, which could bring new tariffs.

Mr Trump said the US car industry was “critical to our strength as a nation” and ordered the Department of Commerce to investigate.

Trump request for a probe rests on the 1960s legislation which allows the president to restrict imports if they threaten security.

This is the latest crusade by Trump’s America first trade agenda.

Trump tweeted on Wednesday that “big news” was coming for automakers in the country.

Under this request for a probe the Department of Commerce will investigate the effect of vehicle imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, allowing the president to restrict trade in the name of national security.

This is the same statute, Section 232, that was used to allow the administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross promised a “thorough, fair and transparent investigation”.

The department’s reports said imports had grown from one-third to almost one-half of all cars sold in the US in the last 20 years.

The latest US government  imported vehicles figures were 8.3 million vehicles worth $192bn (£144bn), and exported almost 2 million vehicles worth $57bn (£43bn).

Of the cars imported, 2.4 million come from Mexico and 1.8 million from Canada.

Photo Credit- Getty Images

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