auto imports 232 investigation

On May 23, President Trump instructed Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to initiate a Section 232 investigation to determine if the imports into the U.S. of automobiles, including SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts threaten to impair national security.

According to Secretary Ross’ statement, imports of passenger vehicles have grown from 32 percent to 48 percent in the past 20 years; and employment in motor vehicle production declined by 22 percent from 1990 to 2017. A Wall Street Journal article indicates that the president is considering the imposition of tariffs as much as 25 percent.

The Federal Register notice outlines a comment and hearing process for interested parties to submit/present information pertinent to the investigation. See additional details below.

The Department of Commerce will recommend actions if it is determined that imports of automobiles and/or automotive parts are being imported into the U.S. in quantities that threaten to impair national security.

The Auto Care Association is seeking input how imports of automobiles and automotive parts imports relates to national security. See Timeline and Written Comments sections below for details. Please contact Aaron Lowe and Paul Fiore if you would like to include information in our submission.


June 29, 2018
Due date for filing written comments, requests to appear at the public hearing and a summary of expected testimony
July 13, 2018
Due date for rebuttal comments in response to comments filed by June 22
July 19 & 20, 2018
Public hearing at the Department of Commerce (Washington, D.C.)

Deadlines above reflect the extended public comment period as published in the Federal Register notice.

The Department of Commerce's report to the President is due within 270 days of when the investigation was initiated.


The Department of Commerce is holding a public hearing on July 19 & 20, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. ET at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. Requests to appear at the hearing and a summary of the testimony are due by June 22, 2018.

Written Comments:

The Department of Commerce is particularly interested in comments and information as they affect national security, including the following:
  • The quantity and nature of imports of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts and other circumstances related to the importation of automobiles and automotive parts;
  • Domestic production needed for projected national defense requirements;
  • Domestic production and productive capacity needed for automobiles and automotive parts to meet projected national defense requirements;
  • The existing and anticipated availability of human resources, products, raw materials, production equipment, and facilities to produce automobiles and automotive parts;
  • The growth requirements of the automobiles and automotive parts industry to meet national defense requirements and/or requirements to assure such growth, particularly with respect to investment and research and development;
  • The impact of foreign competition on the economic welfare of the U.S. automobiles and automotive parts industry;
  • The displacement of any domestic automobiles and automotive parts causing substantial unemployment, decrease in the revenues of government, loss of investment or specialized skills and productive capacity, or other serious effects;
  • Relevant factors that are causing or will cause a weakening of our national economy;
  • The extent to which innovation in new automotive technologies is necessary to meet projected national defense requirements;
  • Whether and, if so, how the analysis of the above factors changes when U.S. production by majority U.S.-owned firms is considered separately from U.S. production by majority foreign-owned firms; and
  • Any other relevant factors.
All written submissions are due June 22, 2018 and can be sent electronically on, docket number DOC-2018-0002. Please review the notice on how to send submissions containing business confidential information. All public submissions will be posted for public inspection.
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