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Trump Directs U.S. Agencies To Find Ways to Protect Domestic Automakers

Vehicles imported into the U.S. from Japan, Korea, Germany, and other foreign countries may become more expensive because of efforts by the Trump Administration to protect domestic vehicle manufacturing.

The Trump Administration has directed various agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Commerce Department, and Transportation Department to find ways to use the Clean Air Act and other laws to require vehicles made overseas undergo strict emissions testing and other reviews, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The move could drive up the price of imported vehicles, and as a result protect vehicles made by American workers. It could also incentivize all automakers—U.S. and foreign—to move more of their vehicle production to the United States.

The issue is complicated because auto manufacturing has become a global enterprise and many foreign companies already have factories in the U.S. including BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen. Toyota’s biggest assembly plant globally is in Georgetown, KY., where the Avalon, Camry, and Lexus ES 350 are produced.

And many automakers, including the big three U.S. automakers Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler, produce cars in Mexico and other countries like India and Italy. It’s unclear if the Trump Administration’s efforts would affect cars produced in Canada or Mexico, which are party to the North American Free Trade Agreement along with the United States.

Of the 17.2 million vehicles sold in the U.S. last year, 75% were assembled in North America, which includes Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.. Most of the remaining vehicles come from Japan, Korea, and Germany.

The plans pursued by the Trump Administration are only at a planning stage, according to WSJ.