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A Competitiveness Call to Action

April 10, 2024

On April 9, 2024, members of Congress, led by U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI 6), sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai urging them to take action to address the danger posed by the expansion of Chinese automotive exports threatening the vitality of the U.S. automotive sector.

MICHauto has been closely monitoring and engaging with its stakeholders regarding the growing threat posed by the automotive industry emanating from China. The danger posed is multifaceted. Above all else, this is a critical call to action for the U.S. to develop its supply of critical minerals from our own mines, our own leadership in battery and clean fuel technology, and complete lifecycle manufacturing within our borders and with friendly trade partners. This is not about protectionism. The U.S. is a free market economy. China is not.  As a result, a competitive imbalance exists, which American policymakers should play a role in correcting.  

American, and specifically Michigan’s research and manufacturing leadership, intellectual property – even more critically – the livelihoods and jobs of Michiganders are at stake.  

MICHauto is engaged with industry stakeholders, members of Congress, Michigan legislators, and industry experts on this threat. Our mission is to be firmly entrenched in protecting, retaining, and growing our signature industry. As the industry continues to transition and global forces are at work, the long-term vitality of the automotive industry in Michigan and our leadership in the clean energy and electric vehicle (EV) transition depends on our ability to compete on a global stage. But this must be on a fair and level playing field.  

Michigan’s automotive industry must build our own supply chain resiliency, fiercely protect our intellectual property, and protect and grow jobs in Michigan and the U.S. A thorough evaluation by the Biden administration and the necessary actions to protect our market economy and industry must be a priority. 

In the letter, the lawmakers say, “The influx of low-cost Chinese vehicles backed by the [Chinese Communist Party (CCP)] poses a threat to the U.S. automotive sector. It is imperative that action be taken to prevent this from materializing. In recent years, the CCP has made significant investments to support its automotive industry, which has led to an overabundance of Chinese exports. Despite U.S. trade barriers, Chinese automakers are now seeking entry into our market. This looming threat of Chinese imports puts at risk our automotive sector’s long-standing leadership. The aggressive expansion of Chinese manufacturers, buoyed by CCP subsidies, threatens to undermine the competitiveness of our domestic manufacturers and jeopardize the livelihoods of millions of American workers. 
“The Chinese automotive industry’s exponential growth also poses significant overcapacity challenges. This surplus, coupled with the aggressive pursuit of new markets, raises concerns about Chinese dumping practices. However, the implications of the Chinese automotive industry’s exponential growth extend beyond economic considerations, encompassing broader national security concerns. CCP-backed initiatives are aimed at achieving global market dominance. We want to emphasize the importance of maintaining American leadership in electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing as we transition to a cleaner future, and we thank the Administration for its work on the Inflation Reduction Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the CHIPS and Science Act dedicated to investing in America. We appreciate the Administration’s recent efforts to investigate risks associated with foreign adversarial highly connected vehicle supply chains. This is vital to addressing the immediate threat posed by Chinese automotive imports on our critical infrastructure. 
“However, we urge the Administration to take decisive action to block the entry of Chinese automobiles into the American market. The Administration should increase tariffs on Chinese automobiles, expedite the review of existing Section 301 tariffs on Chinese goods, and continue strengthening enforcement of our trade agreements to ensure automobiles and parts produced by Chinese manufacturers are not reaping the benefits. “These are essential to safeguard domestic automotive manufacturing, protect American jobs, and preserve national security interests. We are looking forward to continued collaboration to combat the threats posed by Chinese efforts to infiltrate our market. It is imperative that the Administration take proactive steps to address the threat posed by CCP-subsidized imports into the U.S. automotive sector. Failure to act will have far-reaching consequences for the American economy and our national security interests.”

The letter is also signed by U.S. Reps. André Carson (D-IN 7), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH 9), Dan Kildee (D-MI 8), Haley Stevens (D-MI 11), Frank Mrvan (D-IN 1), Terri Sewell (D-AL 7), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI 7), and Shri Thanedar (D-MI 13).