US classic car industry could ‘collapse’ under Trump tariff

In a representation to the US Government, dealer Mark Hyman says proposed 25 percent tax on all imported vehicles could destroy classic car industry in America

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Classic car dealer Mark Hyman, owner of Hyman Ltd, has warned that a proposed ten-fold tariff increase on classic car imports to the US could ‘cripple’ the industry and ‘collapse’ car values.

The US Government is investigating the introduction of a 25 percent tax on vehicles imports into the USA – which would be applied to vehicles of any ages including classic and collector cars. This follows on from the Secretary of Commerce in May this year moving to begin an investigation into the effects that the importation of cars has on US national security.

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Hyman, who is the owner of one of the largest vintage automobile dealers in America, in leading a representation to the US Department of Commerce has warned that the suggested increase from the current level of 2.5 percent could ‘cripple’ an industry that is worth $160bn with interests in all 50 American states, by stopping the import of classic cars to the US.

‘The proposed tariffs on vintage vehicles and parts have the potential to cripple a multi-billion dollar industry that relies upon a healthy and open trade environment free of unreasonable boundaries,’ warned Hyman.

‘The proposed tenfold increase of duties on vehicles and parts will in all likelihood put a stop to the importation of important collector vehicles.’

Hyman also rejected a national security need for the move. ‘The importation of vintage vehicles and associated parts poses no threat to National Security,’ Hyman continued, ‘and the imposition of the proposed tariffs would only serve to harm American businesses and individuals.’

Hyman also predicted various harmful knock-on effects from the additional tariff, including retaliatory tariffs from trading partners which would decrease American classic car exports as well as cause costs associated with classic cars to ‘soar’ and values to ‘collapse’.

Hyman noted also likely negative ripple effects on the American economy such as on the travel and hospitality industries and local economies via events such as shows, rallies, public auctions and museum events.

Hyman’s views echo the position on the proposed tariff confirmed by the European Union in its own submitted written comments to the US Department of Commerce last month, in which it expressed its ‘firm opposition’ to the move.

‘The EU takes the view that this current investigation lacks legitimacy, factual basis and violates international trade rules,’ it said in its submission. ‘The EU reiterates its firm opposition to the proliferation of measures taken on supposed national security grounds for the purposes of economic protection. This development harms trade, growth and jobs in the US and abroad.’

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