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The Department of Commerce announced May 23, 2018 its self-initiation of an investigation under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to determine whether imports of automobiles (including SUVs, vans, and light trucks) and auto parts are harming U.S. national security. The results of the investigation were submitted to President Trump on February 17, 2019.

On May 17, 2019, President Trump announced that he would delay a decision for 180 days, making the new deadline November 13, 2019. However, this is a self-imposed deadline and may be further delayed.

The US has been holding talks with the European Union, Japan, and possibly others that will likely seek to reduce imports from those countries. According to the May 17 proclamation, the DOC determined that U.S.-owned auto producers’ share of the domestic and global markets has fallen sharply in recent decades, which decreases the sales revenues that enable the research and development expenditures necessary for long-term automotive technological superiority, which in turn is essential for national defense.

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