A previously confidential Trump Administration report outlining security threats posed by imported automobiles has now been released by the U.S. Commerce Department, as first reported by Reuters.
The report was the basis for former U.S. President Donald Trump’s claims that imported vehicles were a threat to America’s national security. Trump had threatened to place a 25 percent tariff on imported automobiles and auto parts, although the tariffs were never actually put in place.
The partially redacted report indicated that “significant import penetration over the course of the past three decades,” had weakened the U.S. automotive industry. This, the report said, has jeopardized U.S. military leadership and the military’s ability “to fulfill America’s defense requirements,” thereby making imported automobiles a national security threat.
Republican Senator Pat Toomey was behind legislation that mandated the release of the Trump-era report, which the former president had refused to share publicly. Toomey told Reuters in a statement that “the justification for these tariffs was so entirely unfounded that even the authors were too embarrassed to let it see the light of day.”
The report also identified the automakers the Trump Administration viewed as American-owned. This included General Motors, Ford and Tesla, with Chrysler excluded. Chrysler and its sub-brands, which include Jeep, Dodge and Ram, were previously bought out by Italian conglomerate Fiat, which has since merged with French auto giant Groupe PSA to form Stellantis N.V. Stellantis is currently headquartered in the Netherlands.
While the Biden Administration has reversed course on the proposed Trump-era tariffs, it is still emphasizing the importance of American-made vehicles. President Joe Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan includes funding for point of sale rebates and tax incentives for EV, however EVs must be made-in-America in order to qualify for the rebates and incentives.