What’s happening in the world of Tariffs?

Written by: SEMA DC Staff

In 2018, the Trump administration imposed a series of tariffs intended to address unfair trade practices and encourage foreign nations to renegotiate trade pacts.  Last spring, tariffs were imposed on imports of steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) from every nation except a few countries that negotiated quotas (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, South Korea).  Last summer, President Trump targeted Chinese imports, imposing 25% tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese products including some metal, rubber and plastic parts for auto equipment.  In September, 10% tariffs were imposed on another $200 billion worth of Chinese products, a list that includes many auto parts from engines and wheels to tires, gaskets and suspension components. 

The tariffs will increase to 25% on January 1st if the trade dispute between the two nations has not been resolved.  President Trump has also threatened to impose 25% tariffs on the remaining $267 billion worth of Chinese imports.  The President also directed the U.S. Department of Commerce to investigate whether to impose tariffs on imported automobiles and auto parts if it is found that they pose a threat to America’s national security.  A finding is expected in early 2019.  Global tariffs of 20-25% could be imposed on all types of cars and parts, including new cars, classic cars, OEM parts and specialty auto parts. 

While SEMA supports efforts to create fair trade and protect intellectual property rights, the association is concerned that the U.S. tariffs are harming American businesses, workers and consumers without producing meaningful results.