WASHINGTON — The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) has expressed its opposition to the Trump administration's reported decision to levy steel and aluminum tariffs against key allies.
On May 31, MEMA responded to reports from various news outlets — including Bloomberg, The Guardian and Reuters — that the Trump administration intends to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
In its response, MEMA noted that it has "communicated clearly to the administration that tariffs on imported steel and aluminum will hurt the 871,000 Americans our members employ."
"Many specialty steel and aluminum materials imported by motor vehicle suppliers are used by hundreds of vehicle parts manufacturers operating in an integrated, complex global supply chain," said Ann Wilson, MEMA senior vice president of government affairs. "Suppliers' access to these specialized products — which are often only available from one or two sources in the world — is critical to the industry and our national economy."
Auto parts manufacturers are facing trade challenges and uncertainties on several fronts as a result of the administration's decision. MEMA said this includes the ongoing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations, 232 investigations into auto parts, 301 tariffs on Chinese inputs and now these tariffs and their "concomitant and confusing processes of exclusions and quotas."
MEMA said that its members could end up paying double tariffs on some materials necessary to manufacture parts in the U.S.
"Industries like ours, which require long-term investments in facilities and employees, depend on regulatory and market stability," Ms. Wilson said.
"These actions," she added, "have thrown all of that up in the air. There is little doubt that the uncertainty and added costs the administration is creating will put U.S. investments and jobs at risk."
MEMA represents 1,000 companies manufacturing auto parts in the U.S.
It is unknown whether or not the Trump administration will grant a permanent tariff exemption to any of the countries, much as it did with Brazil, South Korea, Australia and Argentina in May. Canada, Mexico and the European Union received temporary exemptions at that time, but those expire on June 1.