The Trump administration is considering imposing new tariffs on imported vehicles, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The new tariffs would be imposed under a legal provision known as Section 232, which allows the president to impose trade barriers if it is determined that imports pose a threat to national security. The president previously used Section 232 to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum.
The president appeared to hint at an automobile tariff in a tweet on Wednesday.
There will be big news coming soon for our great American Autoworkers. After many decades of losing your jobs to other countries, you have waited long enough!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 23, 2018
Initially, many saw this as referring to China’s announcement Tuesday that it would make big reductions in its tariffs on imported cars. Even inside the White House, there was confusion. Aides told reporters that the tweet was about China’s tariff cut.
Also adding to the sense of mystery today was the decision by Wilbur Ross to cancel a planned speech at the Heritage Foundation. No explanation was given for the cancellation, but many attendees at a related panel on trade speculated that the administration could be on the verge of a major policy announcement.
While no final decision has been made, Trump administration officials have briefed auto industry executives on the broad outline of the plan, according to the Wall Street Journal.
If implemented under Section 232, the tariffs could only come after an investigation by the Commerce Department, which would likely take several months.
A person familiar with the matter told Breitbart News that the Commerce Department was expected to provide the White House with details of the plans late Wednesday.