Alexander and Corker criticize Trump move to put tariffs on vehicle part imports for national security (UPDATED)

Tennessee’s two U.S. senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, are both criticizing a proposal by President Trump that could lead to heavy new tariffs on imported vehicle parts.

Press release from Sen. Bob Corker’s office

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement after the Trump administration announced it was initiating an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to “determine whether imports of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232.”

“I am very concerned about the president abusing the authorities granted to him in Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962,” said Corker. “There is no reason to use this provision to consider imposing tariffs on the automobile industry, and this appears to be either an attempt to affect domestic politics ahead of the election or for some other transactional purpose regarding ongoing trade discussions. This is a dangerous course and should be abandoned immediately.”

Press release from Sen. Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2018 — United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement after the Administration announced it is launching a preliminary investigation into imports of automobiles and automotive parts into the United States:

“Forty years ago, I helped convince Nissan to build here what they sell here—they built a plant in Smyrna, others followed, and today one-third of Tennessee’s manufacturing jobs are auto related, 967 foreign based businesses employ more than 140,000 Tennesseans, and we have more than 900 automotive suppliers in 88 of our 95 counties. Tariffs on the imports of cars and auto parts will not put our workers first. By making it more expensive to build and sell cars here, they will destroy the thriving automotive industry that has been built by thousands of skilled Tennessee workers.”

From a New York Times article on Trump’s move:

President Trump has asked for a sweeping trade investigation into whether autos imported into the United States pose a threat to national security, a move that could ultimately result in tariffs on foreign-made cars and further strain relations with global allies.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, the Commerce Department said it had begun an investigation “following a conversation” with Mr. Trump. The announcement followed a statement from the president, in which he said he had instructed the commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, to investigate imports of cars, trucks and auto parts “to determine their effects on America’s national security.”

“Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a nation,” Mr. Trump said.

In a separate announcement, the Commerce Department said that imports of passenger vehicles had grown from under a third of cars sold in the United States 20 years ago to nearly half today, while employment in the sector had declined. Automobile manufacturing has long been a source of technological innovation in the United States, and the investigation would consider whether the decline of the auto industry threatens to weaken the American economy by reducing research and development in cutting-edge technologies, the statement said.

“There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry,” Mr. Ross said.

The investigation, which will take months, will be carried out under the same legal statute that the administration used to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The statute gives the president broad authority to restrict imports that threaten national security.


6 Responses to Alexander and Corker criticize Trump move to put tariffs on vehicle part imports for national security (UPDATED)

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    Kay White says:

    Dear Senator Corker: Have you ever caught on? It seems not! A good businessman knows how to negoiate, and in that “art” is the obvious threat of this or that and the country we are dealing with, know the President’s personality, are not sure if he “would or would not” – so they do not PUSH him as they readily did with Mr Obama – who time and again proved he was ALL TALK- NO SHOW! Leave his alone. Please do not go out of your office with negative comments – you are only hurting your chances of ever being in politics again. I think you are basically a nice person who made an early “mistake” of giving up your seat in the Senate and it has gone too far to retrack but later, you could make a come back IF YOU STOP THESE NEGATIVE COMMENTS AGAINST OUR PRESIDENT. You see the people of the great state of TN spoke on election day and out of respect for your own people who elected you and yes I was one who did vote for you, as did all of my family at the time, and we were once proud of you as many Tennesseans were but you are hurting yourself now so it is time to STOP! Go out with grace. You, in my opinion, were much more loved than Sen. Alexander had become. He was loved and adored as Governor and as our Seantor – my entire family worked for him. Both sides of my family were Republicans. We were all good, close friends of Congressman Jimmy Quillen and my Grandfather, Oliver Smith Larkins was B Carroll Reece’s Best Friend. They were in the army together, served in the war together and remained friends to the end. Mrs. Reece brought Jimmy Quillen to my grandfather’s house when I was about 8 years old and told him to turn over Hawkins County to our family and we would get him elected – The brought large boxes of materials for us to give our and we spent months going everywhere. My Grandfather’s brother created the “Silver Lake” which was a beach creation in Church Hill and we had school teachers in our family, doctors, large land owners – you get the picture – we were people of distinction because of our hard work and our stong character. This is a wonderful legacy for me and I cherish it. You must try to do the same. I know for me to win the race as Governor, I would need the other four to split the votes and for the Conservative, Grassroots people to vote for me and I know with God, all things are possible. It is in his hands. I actually have come to like the others candidates, some more than othe rs but I do not believe that any of the four would be as fair, without self- interest as I would. But there again, it is the voter’s choice and I will accept that and work with whomever is elected. I wish for you good luck and God’s speed. You would be welcome in my office if I am elected, I would look forward to getting to know you better and share with you the kind of person that I am. I am only interested in the people of this great state and their concerns!

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    Kay White says:


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    James White says:

    Corker, you would be more believable if you hadn’t continually voted FOR Trade Promotion Authority(TPA) for the President.
    Quit crying YOU keep voting for MORE Sovereignty destroying ‘Free’ Trade Agreements and TPA. Congress is to regulate trade, so Buck Up Cry Baby and Regulate.

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    William Upton says:

    Corker please resign and let someone else finish your term. Hopefully someone who can support Trump. We just don’t care what you think anymore.

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    Bob Fischer says:

    Corker is right. Trump is an idiot. We’re the fool of nations with him at the helm.

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    Steve L. says:

    Corker needs to resign but will not. He his corrupt and will hang on until he gets every last dollar from lobbyists. Soon to be forgotten…..

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