I was always of the opinion that every emerging nation in the world wanted its own auto assembly plant, and that once it got a plant, it was quick to add tariffs to protect its new auto industry.
The result is a global mess of tariffs that has grown even more complicated as it becomes harder to determine the country of origin of vehicles.
Cars and parts are shipped around the world so much that it is impossible to figure out what shell is hiding the pea.
Some tariffs are economic, some are political and some are a combination of the two. But it is about time for the powers that be to eliminate all tariffs.
Sure, there are those who will say that is impossible. But it is time to look at international trade and realize it is a zero-sum game.
Tariffs don't help anyone, particularly the consumer. Why is it necessary to have all these extra taxes on consumers?
What is the purpose? Lately, tariffs are serving political purposes, which is wrong. If a country has a tariff on a vehicle, there should be an opposite tariff until such time as both are removed.
That probably cannot be achieved, but it's a worthy goal. Have any tariffs helped to increase trade? I seriously doubt it.
International trade is essential for the auto industry to prosper. Today it is caught up in a political mess that seems impossible to untangle. When politicians get involved, they make it even more complicated and confused.
Somehow, we have to get rid of the tariffs. It is hard enough to sell cars. Do we really need to make it harder?
Mr. Crain is chairman of Crain Communications Inc., parent company of Tire Business, and is editor-in-chief of Detroit-based Automotive News.