SEMA Warns Against Harmful Tariffs

By Della Domingo

SEMA has joined forces with other U.S. manufacturers warning President Trump and the U.S. Congress that newly-enacted tariffs have the potential to harm American companies, workers and consumers. SEMA-member companies are concerned over higher prices for steel and aluminum because of tariffs imposed globally.

“The specialty auto-parts industry employs more than a million American workers who will be affected by the proposed tariffs,” said SEMA Chairman of the Board Wade Kawasaki. “These U.S. workers produce products to personalize and enhance vehicle performance—from wheels and exhausts to engines and grilles—and many of these parts contain metals that are now subject to tariffs that will harm the industry.”

Price hikes began to show up in recent months under the threat of potential tariffs. Fear of supply-chain disruption beyond the metal market is now real as other nations consider retaliatory trade measures.

“We urge the president and lawmakers to use trade laws strategically so that unfair trade practices are addressed without harming U.S. businesses,” said SEMA President and CEO Christopher J. Kersting. “SEMA has joined forces with other domestic manufacturer associations to express concerns with the current approach and the potential downstream damage to domestic industries and American consumers.”

Although the steel and aluminum tariffs are only now going into effect, there is marketplace confusion surrounding their potential impact. Government officials were caught off guard when the metal tariffs were imposed on a global scale and at higher levels than anticipated. This has resulted in a scramble to create an exclusion program for certain countries and companies and the exclusions are still uncertain. SEMA is closely monitoring this matter and will keep members informed as developments unfold.