Thursday, May 24, 2018

Bob Corker: Donald Trump abusing power, 'dangerous' to say auto imports may pose security threat

Senator Bob Corker
 About the time I was sort of warming to Donald Trump and thinking maybe he was not the populist, intemperate, irrational buffoon I originally thought he was and thinking maybe he wouldn't really start a trade war, he has made me think maybe my original assessment was correct. He has kicked things into high gear by called for new tariffs on imports for cars, trucks, SUVs and car parts.

He had backed off his aluminum and steel tariffs, had not torn up NAFTA and was talking about rejoining the Trans Pacific Partnership. His challenging China on currency manipulation and theft of intellectual property seemed appropriate and measured. I was beginning to buy the argument that he is really just a good negotiator and starts with a ridiculous opening gambit and then moderates.  Now, I am beginning to think he really is a mercantilist protectionist who really wants to start a trade war.

It is bad enough that Trump is threatening a full scale trade war that may cost American consumers and halt the economic boom, but he is doing much worse than that, according to Senator Bob Corker. Corker says Trump is abusing his authority by initiating an investigation into whether importing automobiles poses a threat to national security.  Here is the statement issued by Corker's office:
U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement after the Trump administration announced it was initiating 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 automotive parts into the United States threaten to impair the national security as defined in Section 232.”

“I am very concerned about the president abusing the authorities granted to him in Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962,” said Corker. “There is no reason to use this provision to consider imposing tariffs on the automobile industry, and this appears to be either an attempt to affect domestic politics ahead of the election or for some other transactional purpose regarding ongoing trade discussions. This is a dangerous course and should be abandoned immediately.”

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