Which countries would be harmed the most from US tariffs on cars?

April 18, 2019

According to the US Department of Commerce, car imports are a threat to US national security. Trump now can impose duties on car imports, which is likely to affect not only the exporting country but also the many other countries involved in these products’ global value chains. 


US imports of cars: breakdown by exporting country and by the country of origin of the value added


The colors in the chart on the left represent the exports of autos and auto parts from a particular country to the US. It splits the area according to the shares of other countries producing value added embedded in these exports. It is clear that most of the value added exported to the US is produced by the exporting country itself; however, there is a significant share that is produced in other countries.

In Europe, Germany represents the highest share (around 77%) of domestically produced value added (38 bln $), which means that nearly a quarter of the value added in autos and auto parts exported by Germany to the United States is produced outside of Germany
. For the EU as a whole (not represented as a single area in the chart), about 85% of value added is produced domestically and 15% originates from extra-EU countries, mostly the US. 

The chart on the right shows for each country the total value added of cars and parts exported to the US, even if not directly exported (but partly through other countries): the US supplies about 12% of this value added. In 2015, the amount of this value added was 51 bln $, which means that a duty imposed on imports from all auto exporters to the US would constitute a duty, also, on 51 bln $ of US value added – a similar level to Germany (49.8 bln $; 7 bln $ for Italy).