Chattanooga Times Free Press: Alexander says Tennessee automakers would benefit by zero tariffs

Posted on September 5, 2018

Chattanooga Times Free Press: Alexander says Tennessee automakers would benefit by zero tariffs

By Staff

September 5, 2018

https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/business/aroundregion/story/2018/sep/05/alexander-says-tennessee-car-makers-would-ben/478464/

 

Alexander urges end of costly steel tariffs

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, told his Senate colleagues Wednesday that eliminating trade tariffs among different countries is the best approach to aiding U.S. manufacturers, especially Tennessee's automotive industry.

In a hearing on an impact of a zero tariff policy, Alexander voiced support for ending tariffs, especially the steel tariffs which are pushing up production costs in the United States.

"Zero tariffs is the right policy," Alexander said, noting that one third of Tennessee's manufacturing jobs are in the automotive industry with Volkswagen, Nissan and General Motors all having major assembly plants in the Volunteer State. "The wrong policy is this piling tariffs on top of tariffs that we're seeing right now."

Nissan estimates that 70 percent of the weight of a Nissan vehicle made in Tennessee is steel and the price of that steel has gone up 40 percent since January when President Trump imposed new import duties on steel imports from Asia and elsewhere.

"You're going to see a several thousand dollar increase on what it costs to buy a car or a light truck before very long," Alexander said. "We need to get rid of the steel tariffs and the aluminum tariffs and move step by step toward a zero tariff policy like the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has been in place now for more than 20 years and is basically a zero tariff policy. And it is one of the main reasons Tennessee's auto industry has done so well over the last several years."