US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has formally submitted to President Donald Trump the report on the Section 232 investigation into the effect of imports of automobiles and automobile parts on national security, according to a statement on Sunday February 17.
The Trump administration initiated the Section 232 investigation on imported automobiles and automobile parts last May after it imposed blanket tariffs of 25% on inbound shipments of steel and 10% on imports of aluminium in March.
While these tariffs have resulted in rising supply chain costs across business sectors, potential Section 232 tariffs on imported automobiles and auto parts are a bigger concern for global automakers because they have invested billions of dollars over the past few decades to take advantage of international trade and cost arbitrage. The possibility of such tariffs threatens to wildly disrupt existing trade patterns, industry experts have said.
Trump’s broad use of Section 232 investigations and the subsequent imposition of tariffs have drawn criticism from consumers, industry groups and legislators. In recent weeks, US Senators and menbers of the House of Representatives introduced legislation to limit presidential power with regard to the imposition of tariffs on imports for national security reasons.
Section 232 tariffs on aluminium and steel imports raised $3.6 billion in their first nine months, and revenues for the last two months are likely to push that figure up by around another $1 billion, US government data shows.