Automakers respond to Trump's proposed steel, aluminum import tariff increases

March 6, 2018

Last week, President Donald Trump announced a plan to place tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Some car companies that assemble vehicles in the U.S. have responded negatively to the proposal—which sent automaker stocks tumbling on its own.

Trump’s plan would impose a 25 percent tariff on imports of steel and a 10 percent tariff on that of aluminum.

MORE: Trump hints that trade war with Europe could raise taxes on imported cars

"People have no idea how badly our country has been treated by other countries. By people representing us who didn't have a clue," Trump said last week.

Nearly all major automakers saw a decline in stock prices as a result. Ford and FCA stock both fell 2.8 percent last week. Other companies dependent on steel and aluminum experienced losses as well. Boeing dropped 1.5 percent while Caterpillar fell about 1 percent.

GM stocks have dropped 8.5 percent, according to CNBC, even though the company issued a statement saying “We purchase over 90 percent of our steel for U.S. production from U.S. suppliers."

While most automakers, the American International Automobile Dealers Association, and analysts have all come out against the tariffs, the Hyundai had the strongest reaction, according to Bloomberg.

“Changes to the existing tariff structure could negatively impact our current U.S. production and further expansion,” Hyundai spokesperson Jim Trainor said, implying that the tariffs could limit Hyundai’s building of cars in the US.

Toyota, which is poised to open a new factory with Mazda in Alabama, also stated that, "The majority of our steel and aluminum purchases come from the United States," implying that imported steel and aluminum prices may not affect the automaker as much as some others.

Monday, when asked about the tariffs, Trump told reporters, “No, we're not backing down." If all goes according to plan, the formal order will be signed sometime next week.

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