Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama
 

Sewell Leads Bipartisan Push to Protect Auto Industry from Unwarranted Tariffs

May 8, 2019
Press Release
Bipartisan group of nearly 160 Members of Congress urge Trump Administration not to implement auto tariffs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07), a member of the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Trade, led a bipartisan group of 159 lawmakers in urging Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and President Trump against imposing costly new tariffs that could harm the auto industry.

“We are convinced that the products hard-working Americans in the auto sector design, build, sell, and service are not a threat to our national security. We strongly urge you to advise the President against imposing trade restrictions that could harm the auto sector and the American economy,” Sewell and the lawmakers wrote. “American auto manufacturers, parts suppliers and retailers, dealers, and vehicle service providers have not asked for and do not need protection. Tariffs on autos will raise prices for American consumers and lower demand, ultimately leading to decreased U.S. production, investment and employment.”

“We urge you to do everything you can to avoid trade restrictions that would negatively impact the U.S. auto sector and undermine our economic security,” the lawmakers concluded.

Sewell has been an outspoken opponent of the Trump Administration’s proposal to dramatically raise tariffs on auto imports. She and others have filed bipartisan legislation to delay auto tariffs by requiring the International Trade Commission (ITC) to conduct a comprehensive study on the economic importance of automotive manufacturing in America before tariffs on automobiles and auto parts could be applied. Sewell is also the lead sponsor of the bipartisan, bicameral Trade Security Act, which would reform Section 232 to increase Congressional oversight in the Section 232 process and reassign national security threat assessments to the Department of Defense.  

The tariffs would deal a devastating blow to Alabama, where auto manufacturers are a powerful driver of the local economy. Mercedes, Honda and Hyundai assembly plants have made the state a hub for car and light truck production.  

A copy of the letter is below and a .pdf is available here.

 

May 8, 2019

The Honorable Lawrence Kudlow

Director, National Economic Council

1650 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. Kudlow:

We understand that the Commerce Department’s Section 232 investigation on the national security implications of imports of automobiles and auto parts has been completed and delivered to the President. We support efforts to increase manufacturing jobs and our manufacturing base here in America. However, we are convinced that the products hard-working Americans in the auto sector design, build, sell, and service are not a threat to our national security. We strongly urge you to advise the President against imposing trade restrictions that could harm the auto sector and the American economy.

American auto workers, parts suppliers and retailers, dealers, vehicle service providers, and millions of consumers depend on a healthy and competitive U.S. auto industry. As you know, this vital sector employs nearly four percent of our total private sector workforce and is a key engine that powers our economy. However, if tariffs were to be implemented, new vehicle prices will likely increase, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs.

We are also concerned that vehicles outside of the intended scope of the investigation will be subject to tariffs. Parts used in passenger vehicles may overlap with motorcycles, recreational vehicles, construction equipment, heavy-duty trucks, farming equipment, powersports vehicles, and others. Additionally, inevitable retaliatory tariffs from countries around the world, including our close allies, will cause further harm to American farmers, manufacturers, and consumers.

Again, we support policies that benefit our manufacturing sector. However, American auto manufacturers, parts suppliers and retailers, dealers, and vehicle service providers have not asked for and do not need protection. Tariffs on autos will raise prices for American consumers and lower demand, ultimately leading to decreased U.S. production, investment and employment. We urge you to do everything you can to avoid trade restrictions that would negatively impact the U.S. auto sector and undermine our economic security.

Sincerely,