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Associations rallying opposition to Trump’s tariffs

Friday, April 13, 2018 - 06:00
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Industry leaders are uniting with numerous other business organizations in pushing back against President Donald Trump’s announced imposition of tariffs on selected imports of steel and aluminum.

The Auto Care Association and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) continue their respective efforts to prevail upon Trump to change course, citing a series of highly adverse impacts that a 25 percent steel tariff and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum could have on the automotive sector.

Another troubling element is Trump’s stated plan to link the tempest over tariffs with re-negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

MEMA – along with its Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA), the Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA) and the Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) – has been assertive in issuing anti-tariff missives to the White House.

“In multiple public comments and in a letter to President Trump, we made our concerns about the negative effects of tariffs clear: Tariffs will be nothing less than detrimental to the motor vehicle parts supplier industry,” said MEMA President & CEO Steve Handschuh. “While we support the administration’s focus on strong domestic steel and aluminum markets, tariffs will limit access to necessary specialty products, raise the cost of motor vehicles to consumers, and impair the industry’s ability to successfully compete globally.”

Tariffs on steel and aluminum would hurt the largest sector of manufacturing jobs in the U.S., putting the well-being of many Americans – and the nation’s economic security – at risk, he added.

Handschuh further noted that “while the exclusion of Canada and Mexico may help in the short term, we are disappointed that President Trump chose to disregard our message and allow these tariffs to take effect. But we will not stop our efforts on behalf of our members. We will continue to communicate our concerns about these tariffs to the Trump administration and legislators in the hope that we may mitigate long-term negative effects.”

MEMA has additionally been calling for its membership to reach out to House and Senate members with tariff-opposition messaging.

AutoZone, Walmart, Costco and Sears were among 25 major-chain signatories to a March 19 letter penned to Trump by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), the National Retail Federation (NRF) and other trade executives. “Tariffs are a hidden tax on Americans – plain and simple,” the letter declared.

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