The debate over trade issues in Washington largely centers on the potential renegotiation of trade agreements, the establishment of new tariffs and a "border adjustment" plan that would prevent businesses from deducting imports on their taxes.
The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. automakers want add another item to that list: China's tariffs on vehicles imported into the world's largest auto market.
China's auto market is booming — particularly for higher-end vehicles — and becoming an increasingly attractive target for overseas automakers looking to boost their sales.
But the country imposes a 25 percent tariffs on imported vehicles, which either makes those vehicles too expensive or forces foreign car companies to partner with Chinese counterparts to build cars in domestic factories.
Foreign auto industry officials suggested that the tariff should be scrapped since China's economic situation is much different today than when the tariff was first enacted in 2001.
Others added that auto industry reciprocity could benefit factories in the US — which could export their cars at more attractive prices — we well as fully integrate China's automakers into the global market.
Chinese car companies, meanwhile, remain vehemently opposed, and the Journal noted that the Beijing government considers its auto industry a crucial part of China's move toward high-tech manufacturing.
Trump repeatedly targeted trade with China on the campaign trail, but analysts warned that his proposals risked a harmful trade war. One observer told the paper that if a dispute in the auto industry arose, the World Trade Organization was likely to rely on more than 15 years of precedent and side with China.
“I don’t see anything that Trump can do,” Automotive Foresight's Yale Zhang told the Journal.