17:20 GMT +319 December 2018
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    US Commerce Department Starts Probe Into Vehicle Imports

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    US President Donald Trump in a statement said that he directed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to review US automobile imports to determine if tariffs are necessary for reasons of national security.

    "I instructed Secretary 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," Trump said on Wednesday.

    In the realease Trump added that "core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a Nation."

    The proposal may see opposition from foreign trading partners to domestic car dealers of imported vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier.

    However, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced an inquiry into auto imports under a Kennedy-era trade expansion act that protects national security.

    "There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry," Ross said in a statement. "The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent investigation into whether such imports weaken our internal economy and may impair the national security."

    The Department will look into imports of automobiles, including SUVs, light trucks and vans, as well as auto parts after estimating that imports of passenger vehicles grew from 32 percent of cars sold in the United States to 48 percent over the past two decades.

    According to US trade law, a Section 232 investigation is conducted to determine if tariffs should be imposed. Trump used the provision to impose 25-percent tariffs on imports of steel and 10-percent tariff on imported aluminum in March.

    The US stock market dropped dramatically after Trump announced the US tariffs on steel and aluminum because it stirred up fears of a trade war with countries like China.

    Related:

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    Macron Views Lifting of US Tariffs on Steel as Condition for Trade Talks With US
    EU Wants to Boost LNG Imports From US in Exchange of Lifting US Aluminum Tariffs
    Japan Ready to Retaliate Against US Import Tariffs – Reports
    Russia May Limit Imports From US in Response to Higher Metal Tariffs - Ministry
    Tags:
    business, economy, SUV, auto, cars, probe, tariffs, import, US Commerce Department, Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump, United States
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