Opening Remarks at the Section 232 Hearing on Automobile and Automotive Parts Imports


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Thank you, Nazak [Nikakhtar], our Assistant Secretary for Industry and Analysis, for that kind introduction. We are fortunate to have people of such high caliber like you working at the Commerce Department.

Welcome everyone to this discussion about the American automobile industry. It is obvious by the attendance here today how important this industry is to the U.S. and the global economy.

At the request of President Trump, I initiated this investigation into the potential national security impacts of imports of automobiles and automotive parts. The Federal Register Notice seeking input from the industry and public was issued a week later on May 30, and we received over 2,300 comments.

Thank you all for being engaged with us as we commence our formal investigation into the state of the U.S. automobile and automotive parts industries and the industries’ impact on national security.

It is too early now to say if this investigation will ultimately result in Section 232 recommendations on national security grounds. The Department did recommend action in our investigations of steel and aluminum imports, but each industry is different.

In section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, Congress expressly directed the President and me to “recognize the close relations of the economic welfare of our Nation to our national security,” and “to take into consideration the impact of foreign competition on the economic welfare of individual domestic industries.”

President Trump understands how indispensable the U.S. auto industry is to our economy and the “close relation” of our economic strength to national security.

The automobile industry continues to drive American innovation. It provides the backbone of our industrial economy. It supports millions of Americans with high-paying jobs. And the industry is central to the advancement of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles, fuel cells, electric motors, battery storage, composites and materials, advanced manufacturing processes, and many other leading-edge technologies that have a direct bearing on national security.

The intent of our hearing today is to gather information on the current strength of the domestic industry. We are interested in hearing about the global market and technology trends that are important to our assessment as to whether government action is required to assure the viability of U.S. domestic production.

We are carefully analyzing all of the information that you are providing and that our analysts are gathering. We are looking at every comment that has been filed. We understand the complexity of the industry, the global nature of supply chains, and production systems.

We will conduct a thorough, fair and transparent investigation that takes into account all relevant facts and input from stakeholders before reaching a final determination. 

Thank you for your interest and your assistance. We value your input.

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Last updated: 2018-07-19 12:06

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