As NAFTA weighs, Trump’s tariffs drive auto issues in U.S.


From a hotel in Mexico City, Ann Wilson, a senior executive at the United States Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), is fielding calls from American auto parts makers worried that President Donald Trump’s metal tariffs will force them out of business.

Wilson came to Mexico with a different task – to lobby NAFTA trade negotiators on behalf of the U.S. automobile industry, but once Trump revealed on Thursday that he would enforce tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum items, her phone started sounding with calls from members in the house.

“Everyone is very concerned,” Wilson informed Reuters on Friday. “We have actually seen it in the stock market and level of CEO calls I have been getting over the last 24 hours how much this is a concern and how much of this bypasses everything else.”

The U.S. auto parts industry employs about 880,000 employees and MEMA represents motor vehicle parts manufacturers, the biggest U.S. production sector and largest employer of manufacturing jobs in the United States.

A few of MEMA’s members would be deeply impacted by Trump’s tariffs due to the fact that they depend on specialized steel and aluminum items imported from Europe, Asia and other areas, stated Wilson, speaking on the sidelines of the North American Free Trade Agreement talks.

Many financial experts say that instead of increasing employment, price increases for consumers of steel and aluminum such as the vehicle and oil industries will ruin more U.S. jobs than they produce.

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