US car imports probe faces opposition
Chinese automakers face little impact from additional tariffs: analyst
A move by the US to explore imposing additional tariffs on imported cars and auto parts has encountered widespread opposition.
The US announced Wednesday that it has initiated a Section 232 investigation into the national security implications of automobile imports that could result in additional tariffs of 25 percent on cars and auto parts.
“There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry,” US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement on Wednesday.
The American Chamber of Com- merce in China declined to comment when reached by the Global Times on Friday, noting that “the investigation has many uncertainties and we will follow closely the case.”
Chinese auto maker Geely Holding Group told the Global Times that it favors open markets.
“Geely believes strongly in the benefits of investing and contributing to the main markets in which it seeks to sell cars and services.” Geely has a factory in South Carolina that manufactures automobiles for its subsidiary Volvo.
Chinese electric auto maker BYD – which owns North America’s largest electric bus factory in Pennsylvania – declined to comment.
Even if the US imposes additional tariffs, it will have little impact on Chinese automakers, Xu Haidong, secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, told the Global Times.
In 2017, the US imported millions of automobiles, of which China-made vehicles accounted for only around 50,000 units, Xu said. Although China exports more car components to the US, they are far from a threat to US national security, he noted.
China opposes the US’ overuse of the national security clause, as it threatens to sabotage the multilateral trading regime and disrupt the normal international trading order, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said on Thursday. “We will follow closely how this US investigation evolves and conduct a comprehensive evaluation on its possible impacts. China will resolutely safeguard its legitimate rights and interests,” he said.
The US investigation into vehicle imports under Section 232 “is very hard to understand,” European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said on Thursday.
The Washington-based US Chamber of Commerce also said it strongly opposes the move, saying “it would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.”