Report: Trump Administration Plans Stricter Enforcement of Environmental Rules on Imported Cars

An employee works on an engine at the assembly line of a car factory in Qingdao, eastern China's Shandong province
AFP

The Trump administration is considering stricter enforcement of environmental standards on imported cars as a way of protecting U.S. automakers, reports the Wall Street Journal.

U.S. automakers have long complained that they face unfair competition from foreign automakers because many countries subject imports to strict safety and environmental rules, a tactic of protecting domestic industries known as “non-tariff barriers.” The Trump administration is now considering erecting similar barriers around the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

President Trump has often said that he wants “reciprocity” from trading partners. Implementing non-tariff barriers in the form of environmental rules can be seen as a form of making trade more reciprocal, according to a senior administration official.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Trump has asked the Environmental Protection Agency and several other agencies, including the Commerce and Transportation departments, to pursue plans to use such laws as the Clean Air Act to subject cars made overseas to strict emissions-standards testing and reviews when entering the U.S. The rules could effectively require more expensive technology on some foreign cars or subject those cars to more expensive hurdles that can be billed to the manufacturer or importer.

Either option would likely raise the costs for foreign cars sold in the U.S., making domestically produced cars cheaper by comparison.

According to the Journal, the plans are still in the very early stages. EPA officials are attempting to craft a legal justification for the stiffer rules, with some in the administration warning that they might not be able to withstand the inevitable lawsuits.

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