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Trump auto tariff investigation ill-considered

May 24, 2018

TORONTO – Unifor, representing more than 40,000 auto and auto parts workers, calls the Trump administration decision to investigate tariffs on car and auto-part imports on national-security grounds rash and ill-considered.

“As a trusted trading partner I think it’s clear that Canada is not a threat to American security,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.  “What’s unclear is the motivation or the actual target of potential tariffs. Is this a NAFTA bargaining tactic or is Trump just using Section 232 as a political tool to deliver one of his so-called ‘wins’ in the absence of a new NAFTA prior to the U.S. midterm elections?”

News of the investigation came in a surprise announcement yesterday by the U.S. Commerce Department that caught both international governments and auto manufacturers off guard.

Unifor has previously proposed, as part of its NAFTA recommendations, the need to address North American disinvestment, the surge in foreign imports and the migration of good paying jobs to ever cheaper labour markets. However, the union is opposed to the use of Section 232 as a blunt trade weapon being used against steel, aluminum and now potentially auto imports.

“There are serious issues, including tariffs, which need to be addressed to rebalance North American auto trade in the international market but the shotgun approach of Section 232 could cause chaos in the sector and inflict severe collateral damage to both Canadian and American auto workers,” said Dias. 

Unifor vows to vigorously oppose any attack on Canadian jobs and workers. The union is also calling on the federal government to take a firm stand against the threat of unjust tariffs.

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For more information, please contact Unifor Communications Representative Kathleen O’Keefe at  or 416-896-3303 (cell).