President Donald Trump has a new trade target: cars.
The Trump administration confirmed on Wednesday that it may slap tariffs on imported vehicles and automotive parts, pending the outcome of an investigation by the Department of Commerce.
In a statement, Trump said he instructed Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to “consider initiating a Section 232 investigation into imports of automobiles, including trucks, and automotive parts to determine their effects on America’s national security.”
“Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a Nation,” Trump added.
Trump’s auto tariffs, if implemented, would be similar to how the administration imposed duties on imported steel and aluminum. The administration previously launched a 10-month investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act and determined that unfair steel and aluminum trade practices threatened national security. As a result, Trump placed new tariffs on the metals.
The administration is weighing auto tariffs of up to 25%, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The news comes the same day that President Donald Trump teased “big news coming soon” for American auto workers. Trump has been a frequent critic of vehicle imports, blasting Ford and other automakers for building vehicles in Mexico and shipping them into the U.S.
A new tariff on cars, trucks and SUVs could face opposition from some industry groups, with foreign automakers and their dealers likely to be concerned about a price disadvantage against domestic rivals.
Many foreign manufacturers already operate plants in the U.S. For instance, Mercedes-Benz builds SUVs at a factory in Alabama, and BMW has a plant in South Carolina.