Trump considering 25% tariffs on car imports: report

Washington (AFP) –


President Donald Trump is considering a plan to impose steep tariffs on auto imports justified by national security concerns, the same reason used for duties on steel and aluminum, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The White House is considering launching a so-called Section 232 investigation on auto trade, according to the report, which would provide the legal basis to impose tariffs if the Commerce Department finds imports threaten US national security.

Trump may have previewed the move in two vague tweets early Tuesday.

"There will be big news coming soon for our great American autoworkers," he said on Twitter. "After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!"

In another tweet referring to trade talks with China, he said that, while the discussions were moving along nicely, "in the end we will probably have to use a different structure."

Trump has frequently railed against China's high import duties on foreign cars and in the course of the recent negotiations President Xi Jinping offered to cut the rate to 15 percent from 25 percent.

The Journal, citing sources in the auto industry, said the plan to retaliate likely would face significant opposition from trading partners and auto dealers that sell imports.

It also is unlikely to pass muster with the World Trade Organization.

China has filed a WTO complaint against the national security rationale behind the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed in March.