Back i n May, the U.S. Commerce Department launched an investigation into car imports to determine the impact of car imports. The investigation falls under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 which states "whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security." This could allow the Trump administration to levy tariffs as high as 25 percent on foreign-built vehicles.
Yesterday, the Commerce Department submitted their draft report into the investigation. The Trump administration has 90 days to determine whether or not to move forward on various measures such as implementing tariffs if the report concludes that imports are a security threat. But Bloomberg is reporting that the administration is holding off on imposing new tariffs. Two sources tell the publication that top officials are considering revising plans due to the report. The sources also said that the report "would be subject to further changes."
President Trump has been using the threat of tariffs as leverage during negotiations with trade partners. Already, Trump has promised not to impose any auto tariffs on Europe while the two work on a new trade deal. But a number of foreign governments and companies have said the tariffs would cause more harm. The National Automobile Dealers Association estimates tariffs would add $2,270 to the cost of U.S.-built vehicles and $6,875 to the cost of imported vehicles.
It doesn't help that many in Trump's senior economic team believe slapping tariffs on imported cars is a bad idea. According to a report from Axios yesterday, "about every member of his senior economic team besides Peter Navarro believes this is a terrible idea."