Trump orders Commerce Department to examine tariffs on auto imports

The Trump administration is using national-security laws to consider imposing new tariffs on vehicle and auto-parts imports, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

President Donald Trump is asking for new tariffs of as much as 25% on automobile imports, according to those familiar with his request, after he repeatedly signaled his intention to impose such tariffs.

Mr. Trump has asked his team to investigate using a legal provision of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act to find whether tariffs or other restrictions are needed on imported cars. It is the same legal justification the administration used to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in March.

In a Twitter message on Wednesday, he said, “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!”

The move opens yet another front in the Trump administration’s trade battles with both allies and rivals, a confrontational approach that has yielded mixed results. The administration is locked in touchy negotiations over narrowing China’s $375 billion annual trade surplus with the U.S. So far, Beijing has refused to commit to much more than stepping up purchases of U.S.-produced commodities.

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