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Josh Hawley is introducing on Wednesday legislation to hike tariffs on Chinese vehicle imports

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley is taking the fight to "existential threat posed by China" on automotive vehicle industry.

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, is expected to introduce legislation on Wednesday that would hike tariffs on Chinese vehicle imports.

Hawley's bill would raise the current 2.5% tariff rate to 100%, subsequently raising the total tariff of all imported Chinese automobiles from 27.5% currently to 125%, Reuters reported. The bill would also impact vehicles assembled in Mexico by Chinese-based automakers.

The bill comes amid growing concerns about the impact Chinese vehicles could have on U.S. car companies and as experts have warned of potential safety concerns.

In announcing the bill, Hawley urged President Biden to take steps to protect U.S. autoworkers "from the existential threat posed by China."

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The effort to boost tariffs on Chinese vehicles has bipartisan support.

A group of lawmakers from both major parties urged U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai in November "to address the coming wave of (Chinese) vehicles that will be exported from our other trading partners, such as Mexico, as (Chinese) automakers look to strategically establish operations outside of (China)."

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In January, Tai confirmed the Biden administration was closely reviewing "China's non-market policies and practices in its automotive industry" and would revise current tariff levels accordingly. Tai also expressed concern that high U.S. tariffs on Chinese vehicle exports "have also encouraged Chinese firms to set up operations outside China."

U.S. car companies have also complained about unfair competition against Chinese vehicles.

"The introduction of cheap Chinese autos - which are so inexpensive because they are backed with the power and funding of the Chinese government - to the American market could end up being an extinction-level event for the U.S. auto sector," the Alliance for American Manufacturing said to Biden in a report Friday, urging him to block low-cost Chinese autos and parts from Mexico, Reuters reported.

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Former President Trump has repeatedly said on the 2024 campaign trail that he would impose hefty new tariffs on Chinese vehicle imports. He also hiked them by 25% when he was president.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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