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Makers Claim Trump Investigation of Auto Imports Ill-Conceived

Trade Expansion Act clause not intended for this type of use.

by on May.25, 2018

President Donald Trump instructed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, left, to determine if auto imports are a threat to national security.

The Trump administration’s decision to launch a complex investigation to determine if the import of finished vehicles and automotive components represents a threat to national security brought a swift reaction from carmakers and other groups.

The Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers in Washington D.C., the industry’s principal lobbying group in the U.S. Capitol, said the investigation launched by the U.S. Commerce Department under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 is a process that has rarely been used and traditionally has not focused on finished products.

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“We are confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk to the U.S. Last year, 13 domestic and international automakers manufactured nearly 12 million vehicles in the U.S. The auto sector remains the leading exporter of manufactured goods in our country,” the Alliance noted in a statement. (more…)

Trump Auto Tariff Threat Triggering Backlash

President calls auto industry "critical to our strength as a nation," but critics warn new tariffs could "undermine" global trade.

by on May.24, 2018

GM CEO Mary Barra welcomes President Donald Trump's efforts to "level the playing field."

President Donald Trump is once again threatening to slap steep tariffs on imported cars, trucks and auto parts, his latest in a series of moves challenging free trade that also sees a continuing effort to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump said he asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate whether auto imports are a threat to national security. If so, he would be able to sidestep Congress and institute tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 — one of the strongest trade tools in the president’s arsenal. But the proposal is already triggering a backlash from trade partners in Europe and other parts of the world.

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“Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a nation,” Trump said in a short statement released by the White House Press Office. (more…)

Trump Promises Good News for Auto Workers

Presiden implies deal on NAFTA is near, but others dispute the notion.

by on May.23, 2018

President Donald Trump promised American auto workers they'd be "very happy" very soon.

President Donald Trump implied that the end of negotiations over NAFTA are near and that the end result will be good for hourly workers at automakers across the U.S.

“There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!” Trump said in a tweet.

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One of Trump’s campaign promises was to secure a new North American Free Trade Agreement that was more favorable to the U.S. The three countries – Canada, Mexico and the U.S. – have been in talks for nearly a year now. (more…)

China Cutting Tariffs on Imported Vehicles

But revised rate is still six times higher than what U.S. levies.

by on May.22, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to cut tariffs on cars to 15% and components to 6%.

Under mounting trade pressure from the U.S., China said Tuesday that it will reduce duties on imported passenger vehicles from 25% to 15%, while also cutting the tariff on imported automotive parts and components to 6%.

Chinese President Ji Xinping had promised to cut tariffs in comments made last month, though it is unclear if the move will go far enough to satisfy critics as diverse as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and U.S. President Donald Trump. With the exception of pickup trucks, the American tariff on imported vehicles is just 2.5%.

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In a series of tweets last month, Trump referred to the automotive imbalance asked, “Does that sound like free or fair trade? No, it sounds like STUPID TRADE – going on for years!” (more…)

China Tariffs on Hold as Trade War Talk Recedes

Two countries putting a deal together.

by on May.21, 2018

The Trump administration is backing away from proposed tariffs on a variety items imported from China.

The announcement by the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin that the Trump administration will suspend any plans to impose tariffs on Chinese imports lowers the risks for American and European carmakers, fearing the impact of a trade war.

Companies such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which export American-made vehicles to China, will apparently be spared, facing the substantial tariffs the Peoples Republic of China had proposed imposing on vehicles exported from the United States.

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Importers of vehicles from China, such General Motors, also will be spared American tariffs on vehicles from Chinese factories. (more…)

NAFTA Talks Encroaching on Congressional Deadline

If deal isn't reached by deadline, might have to wait until 2019.

by on May.17, 2018

Republican House leader Paul Ryan noted if NAFTA talks don't produce a new deal soon, it may not get approved until 2019.

The Trump administration’s plans to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement may have to wait until next year.

Politico, the Washington-based website for political news, noted that House Speaker Paul Ryan said the Trump administration has until May 17 to submit a final NAFTA deal if it wants lawmakers to vote on the revised agreement this year.

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Negotiators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada have nothing to show for their efforts despite meeting all week in Washington DC to coming up with a deal, knowing that time was running short to get a deal through Congress in this legislative session.  (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Backs Off Proposed CAFE Rollbacks

Automaker changes tone about move to stifle tougher fuel economy rules.

by on May.15, 2018

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne amended his position on the rollback of CAFE standards after meeting with President Trump.

This story has been updated with new information.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is now adding to the remarks he made after a meeting with President Donald Trump in which he appeared to endorse the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back fuel economy standard and revoke the state of California’s ability to enforce tighter standards.

“I appreciated the opportunity to talk to the President today about our shared commitment to the automotive industry,” Marchionne said in a statement after the White House meeting at which Trump reportedly described Marchionne as his favorite person in the room.

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“Consumer preferences and technological advancements in our business are constantly evolving. Therefore, revisiting and assessing EPA standards, as was originally intended, is the right thing to do. With this process just beginning, it would be a mistake to jump to conclusions and pre-judge the outcome.  (more…)

Uber Backs Down on Arbitration Accused of Silencing Sex Assault Victims

Ride-sharing service’s drivers accused of numerous rapes and assaults.

by on May.15, 2018

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi agreed to end the company's practice of using only confidential arbitration to resolve issues.

Ride-sharing giant Uber responding to critics who feel it has tried to silence victims of sexual assault says it will stop using the forced arbitration contained in its terms of service.

The move comes after reports surfaced revealing at least 100 Uber drivers in the U.S. had been accused of sexually assaulting passengers in recent years, including one recent case in which a driver followed a female passenger after reaching her home and tried to force himself into her apartment. Critics have also accused the service of lax background checks that have allowed some convicted of sex crimes to go to work for the company.

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Anyone using the Uber smartphone app to hail a ride was required to enter into confidential arbitration, even in the event of serious crimes, such as rape, committed by a driver. Going forward, Uber says it will now let victims, including passengers as well as drivers and employees, choose the venue in which to pursue their grievance, including the courts. (more…)

California, 16 Other States File Suit Against the EPA

Attorneys General claim EPA is violating the law by not enforcing it.

by on May.01, 2018

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and 16 other Attorneys General sued the EPA over CAFE mandates.

Less than 24 hours. That’s how long it took for California and 16 other states to respond to the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to roll back fuel economy standards and revoke California’s ability to set its own mileage and emissions mandates.

The 17 states filed suit in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The move was led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, and the suit alleges that that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to roll back the stringent gas mileage rules that were adopted by former President Barack Obama’s administration is “unlawful.”

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California was joined by Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia. (more…)

New US Content Proposal for NAFTA Gets Tepid Response

Mexico balks at new demands from negotiators.

by on May.01, 2018

Trade representatives from Canada, Mexico and the U.S. continue negotiating a revised NAFTA agreement.

The latest proposals from the U.S. in the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement talks have been met with tepid curiosity and outright defiance from Mexico’s delegation.

The U.S. proposal, according to Reuters, increases NAFTA’s regional automotive content and would carry a four-year phase-in to meet a higher, 75% regional value threshold. The current level is 62.5% while new labor content rules requiring substantial work at wages of $16 an hour or higher.

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The new deal would require the $16 wage on work comprising 40% of the value of light-duty passenger vehicles and 45% for pickup trucks. Mexico, where salaries average less than $6 per hour at automakers, wasn’t keen on the new idea. (more…)