US Launches Auto Import Probe, China Says Will Defend Interests

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(From Reuters)

The Trump administration has launched a national security investigation into car and truck imports that could lead to new U.S. tariffs similar to those imposed on imported steel and aluminum in March.

The national security probe under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 would investigate whether vehicle and parts imports were threatening the industry’s health and ability to research and develop new, advanced technologies, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

“There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement, promising a “thorough, fair and transparent investigation.”

Higher tariffs could be particularly painful for Asian automakers including Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), Nissan Motor Co (7201.T), Honda Motor Co (7267.T) and Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS), which count the United States as a key market, and the announcement sparked a broad sell-off in automakers’ shares across the region. [MKTS/GLOB]

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