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International nameplate dealers: Tariffs will result in trade war

March 9, 2018
Citing a "big trade imbalance," President Donald Trump on March 8 imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff for aluminum. He exempted Canada and Mexico for now, backtracking from earlier pledges of tariffs on all countries.
But the American International Automobile Dealers Association points out that such a tax already exists, a relic from a trade war fought in the 1950s. 
Consumers already absorb a 2.5 percent tariff on cars and a whopping 25 percent tariff on light trucks imported into the U.S., the AIADA said in a March 5 news release.
"More tariffs won’t help American businesses or families," said AIADA President and CEO Cody Lusk. "Tariffs are taxes, and the result will be more expensive vehicles — effectively erasing any positive change Americans saw from the late 2017 tax reform bill. Auto sales, which are already slowing, will be hamstrung by these tariffs. 
"America’s 2,500 European branded dealerships and their 175,000 employees will be less competitive. The resulting trade war will undoubtedly spread to include other industries, including American agriculture. No one wins a trade war."
The president defended his controversial decision by tweeting that "trade wars are good, and easy to win." An analysis of tariffs on steel imposed in 2002 found that the steel tariffs imposed by President George W. Bush cost 200,000 jobs, including 30,000 in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania alone. 
America’s 9,600 international nameplate auto dealers, the majority of which are family-owned businesses, employ more than 577,000 Americans, resulting in a payroll of $32 billion and an additional 527,000 indirect jobs. 
International nameplate dealers in 2017 sold 8.4 million vehicles to American consumers — 59 percent of total U.S. retail vehicle sales.