NHK and all commercial broadcasters reported that the Trump administration announced on Wednesday that it has launched an investigation to determine the impact of auto imports on America’s national security. In a related development, NHK said that a U.S. media outlet, which it did not name, reported that President Trump is mulling raising the tariff on imported passenger cars to 25% from the current 2.5% based on Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act. The network said that if the tariff is imposed, Japan and other trade partners of the United States and car dealers in America will likely react sharply.
NHK quoted Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga as saying at a press conference on Thursday that any steps on trade policy should be consistent with WTO rules and that Tokyo will continue to closely monitor future developments.
Trade Minister Seko also told reporters: “This is regrettable because if such a measure is actually taken, it could roil world markets and have a negative impact on the multilateral trade system based on WTO rules because the auto industry is such a large industry.”