Following President Donald Trump ordering the Department of Commerce to open an investigation to determine the effect of imports on national security, and his consistent rhetoric of increasing tariffs on imports including automobiles, Toyota clarified in a statement today that its 137,000 American workers are not a threat.
Here’s the statement, via Reuters reporter David Shepardson:
Toyota’s statement follows a tweet from the President on Saturday that proposed a 20 percent unilateral tariff on all European auto imports, which would cause major problems for automakers, especially for niche vehicles. As Toyota points out, the impact would go even further, harming American workers and consumers directly with increased prices.
Trump’s apparent motivation for increasing tariffs on imports is his claims that there is a trade imbalance between the U.S. and its European trading partners, which levy a 10-percent import on the MSRP of all U.S. auto imports.
“Nationwide, this tariff would hit American consumers with a tax of nearly $45 billion [annually], based on 2017 auto sales. This would largely cancel out the benefits of the tax cuts,” a spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers told Reuters yesterday.
The Department of Commerce’s investigation will also involve the Department of Defense and other government agencies, and will seek public remarks on the issue. Hopefully the investigation takes care to consider the concerns of automakers with vast American manufacturing output and employment, like Toyota.