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Tillis Sends Bipartisan Letter Seeking Answers on Possible Tariffs for Foreign Autos

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) signed a bipartisan letter urging the U.S. Department of Commerce to release its report on whether imported automobiles and auto parts threaten the country’s national security.

Last year, Commerce self-initiated a “national security” investigation into automotive imports under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Under the statute, the president is authorized to impose unilateral trade restrictions (tariffs, quotas, etc.) on certain goods if Commerce finds that they “threaten to impair” national security. Commerce delivered the findings of its probe to the president on February 17th, which triggered a 90-day period for the president to review the report and decide whether or not to impose trade restrictions.

In response to staff briefings conducted by Commerce on the still-classified 232 report, the senators wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross requesting additional information on a number of questions, including how Commerce defined “national security,” if Commerce met with any stakeholders in support of Section 232 tariffs on autos, and how Commerce accounted for downstream effects of 232 trade restrictions on auto and auto part imports.

The bipartisan letter was also signed by Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Angus King (I-ME), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA).

The full letter to Secretary Ross is online.

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