The decision followed a “conversation” with President Trump, who said in a separate statement that he instructed Ross to consider the move.
“Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a Nation,” Trump said.
Ross said in the Commerce statement that “There is evidence suggesting that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry. The Department of Commerce will conduct a thorough, fair, and transparent investigation into whether such imports are weakening our internal economy and may impair the national security.”
The investigation, Commerce said, “will 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. Secretary Ross sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis informing him of the investigation.”