Trump's auto tariff threat “makes me sad,” Toyota chief says

18, Mar. 2019


By Miki Ishibashi

WASHINGTON, Kyodo - Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda on Friday lamented U.S. President Donald Trump's threat to impose hefty tariffs on automobile imports, including those from Japan.

Underscoring Toyota's contribution to the U.S. economy and employment, Toyoda said he is saddened by calls in the United States for managed trade on Japanese automobile imports amid concern about their effects on national security.

“I don't know why they call it a national security threat. That really makes me sad,” he said in a speech at the Economic Club of Washington.

“I hope that this kind of conversation can go away,” Toyoda said, speaking through an interpreter.

Toyoda was in the U.S. capital to introduce the 2020 GR Supra, a new sports car that goes on sale this summer.

In the latest show of Toyota's commitment to the United States, the automaker said Thursday it will expand investment in the world's largest economy by 30 percent to $13 billion by 2021.

Toyoda pledged to increase Toyota's investment in the United States as he stressed its close ties with local dealers, suppliers and communities.

“What I can promise you is that Toyota would like to stay in this country” regardless of the ultimate decision Trump's administration makes on imported cars, he said.

Last month, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross submitted to Trump a report on a Commerce Department investigation into the potential impact of auto and automotive parts imports on U.S. national security. (Kyodo)