The Trump administration is weighing placing Section 232 tariffs on imported cars, something the leader of the Senate Finance Committee opposes. Over the weekend, the Commerce Department submitted a report to the White House on the issue, and President Donald Trump has 90 days to review it. But Trump received some pointed advice from Iowa Republican and Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, Grassley said it would be “subterfuge to use 232 to put tariffs on cars.” He pointed out Section 232 is “based on national security,” and it would be “ludicrous” to use security justifications to stop automobile imports. Grassley said he has not read the report, but has requested a copy. Trump has also heard from the automotive sector on the matter. In a statement on Sunday, John Bozzella, CEO of Global Automakers, urged Trump to make the Commerce report public. Bozzella said automotive trade “does not imperil national security. It strengthens our competitiveness and benefits consumers. There is no compelling need to hide the recommendations made to the President, or to restrict trade in a sector that supports the jobs of 10 million Americans.” The Trump administration has already used the clause to place duties on imported steel and aluminum. Retaliatory tariffs on those imports were quickly assessed to U.S. agricultural exports, leading farm groups to call for an end to the practice.
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