Federal government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

But tariffs on vehicle imports could do even more damage - more than double the amount of all other USA tariffs already implemented or proposed, according the International Monetary Fund.

Trump was saying Tuesday that he has "full faith" in the US intelligence agencies in the aftermath of his Helsinki news conference when the lights in the White House Cabinet Room dimmed and briefly went out, leaving the room mostly in darkness. Doug Jones, D-Ala., joins Americans who work for worldwide auto companies to demonstrate against trade tariffs they say will negatively impact US auto manufacturing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday. "And you know what we're talking about with respect to cars and tariffs on cars".

There appears to be little public support for the auto tariffs so far.

At the start of the hearings, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said "it's clearly too early to say" if the investigation will ultimately result in a recommendation that tariffs be introduced based on national security grounds. Only a handful of some 2,300 comments received by the Commerce Department favor the idea and half of consumers recently surveyed (773) by Cox Automotive said potential tariff increases will impact their next vehicle purchase decision.

"The US and its trading partners should work constructively together to reduce trade barriers and to resolve trade and investment disagreements without resorting to tariff and non-tariff barriers".

"In this investigation, you are being asked to examine a specific industrial sector: automobiles and auto parts. Civilian passenger vehicles and parts", she said. They pleaded with the administration to back away from its threats.

"The opposition is widespread and deep because the consequences are alarming. Simply put, tariffs are a massive tax on consumers".

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The EU, Mexico and Canada have said they will retaliate against the United States if the White House places new tariffs on foreign cars and vehicle parts.

A study released by a US auto dealer group warned that the tariffs could cut USA auto sales by 2 million vehicles annually and cost more than 117,000 auto dealer jobs, or about 10 percent of the workforce.

Out of all the witnesses Thursday morning, only one voiced support for auto-tariff investigation.

Jennifer Kelly, the United Auto Workers union research director, noted that US auto production has fallen from 12.8 million vehicles in 2000 to 11.2 million in 2017 as the sector has shed about 400,000 jobs over that period, with many jobs moving to Mexico or other low-wage countries.

The Peterson Institute for International Economics has warned the tariffs, even without retaliation, could lead to the loss of 195,000 U.S. jobs. "But that doesn't mean we should do nothing". In recent weeks, investors have been focused on the potential impact of USA tariffs on Chinese imports.

Toyota North America Chief Executive Jim Lentz told company dealers in an email seen by Reuters that "Toyota and the entire auto industry is facing a very risky public policy threat - a potential 25% tariff on all imported autos and auto parts - and we need YOU to help us win this battle!" Some administration officials have suggested that his threats are a tactic to win concessions in trade talks, including North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations.

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