U.S. Needs Aggressive Tariffs on China-Made Cars

2024-03-21 12:33:58

Democrats, seeking reelection in swing states, are siding with former President Donald Trump in suggesting that the United States must protect American auto workers by slapping tariffs on cheap electric vehicles (EVs) from Chinese companies.

Trump garnered headlines in March when he warned that China’s seeking to flood the U.S. market with cheap EVs would be a “bloodbath” for the nation’s auto industry:

Let me tell you something to China, if you’re listening President Xi — and you and I are friends but he understands the way I deal — those big, monster car manufacturing plants that you’re building in Mexico right now, and you think you’re going to get that and you’re going to not hire Americans and you’re going to sell the cars to us, no.

We’re going to put a 100 percent tariff on every single car that comes across the line. And you’re not going to be able to sell those cars if I get elected. Now if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole, that’s going to be the least of it, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the country; that’s going to be the least of it. [Emphasis added]

Though Democrats have sought to mischaracterize Trump’s “bloodbath” remark to mean political violence, several running for reelection in 2024 in swing states admit they agree with the former president’s economic nationalist agenda.

“I really, really, really, really, really am going to be intense about ensuring that automobiles made by China aren’t going to get any benefit from trade agreements that we’ve got,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) told Politico.

Likewise, Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) suggested to Politico that she would like to see steep tariffs on China-made cars to protect American auto workers:

“The more aggressive we can be, in my opinion, the better,” Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) told POLITICO, adding that she is looking to the Biden administration to determine where to set tariffs. “I just am not taking my cues from Donald Trump, who’s firing off a word salad from the mouthpiece of his podium on the campaign trail when he’s shown he’s never known what he’s talking about as it pertains to [the] auto industry.” [Emphasis added]

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), who will face a tough reelection against Republican Bernie Moreno, told Politico that he, too, wants higher tariffs on China but did not offer specifics.

“Ohio knows all too well how China illegally subsidizes its companies, putting our workers out of jobs and undermining entire industries from steel to solar manufacturing,” Brown told Politico. “We can’t wait for China to run this same playbook in the auto industry — we need strong rules, including but not limited to tariffs, to stop a flood of Chinese electric vehicles that threaten Ohio auto jobs.”

Brown, along with Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), are lobbying President Joe Biden’s Department of Commerce to drastically hike China tariffs:

Allowing heavily subsidized Chinese vehicles to enter the U.S. marketplace would endanger American automotive manufacturing. We note that domestic automakers are also investing billions of dollars in the transition to make EVs in the U.S. with American workers. Artificially low-priced Chinese EVs flooding the U.S. would cost thousands of American jobs and endanger the survival of the U.S. automotive industry as a whole. To bolster American manufacturing and protect the domestic EV transition, [U.S. Trade Represenative] must move immediately to maintain or increase Section 301 tariffs on Chinese EVs. [Emphasis added]

House and Senate Republicans are steadily aligning with their voters, nearly 70 percent of whom now say free trade costs American jobs.

In February, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced legislation to increase tariff rates on China-made cars to 100 percent — including those made by Chinese automakers but not necessarily manufactured in mainland China.

Also, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced similar bills that would hit China-made cars with a $20,000 tariff and change federal law to ensure that cars made by Chinese automakers but not manufactured in mainland China are still considered made in China.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), running for Indiana’s open U.S. Senate seat, asked Biden’s Commerce Department to open an investigation into China’s circumventing existing tariffs and greatly consider additional tariffs to spare American auto jobs.

“China’s dominance of the global EV supply chain creates complex risks to national security that must be remedied by U.S. tariffs on global EV imports,” Banks writes.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here.

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U.S. Needs Aggressive Tariffs on China-Made Cars


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