Trump studying new auto tariffs after General Motors restructuring


The president, who has made trade wars a signature of his "America first" administration, was angered by GM's decision to cut thousands of jobs in a series of plant closures, including in OH and MI.

Actually, Trump may have jumped the gun on that as the automaker has only said that it is considering a new plant. It is expanding its existing U.S. assembly plant and is due to open another assembly plant in Mexico next year. Volvo is opening a plant in SC, but those plans date to 2015. The company is adding capacity to its U.S. plant, along with 1,000 additional jobs.

Auto companies employ far fewer workers than they did in 2000.

Before GM can shutter factories next year in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, Canada, it must reach agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

Trump's comments come as the Commerce Department finalizes its recommendations on whether tariffs make sense.

The engines for the cars BMW builds in SC are now imported from Europe.

Mexico has been unequivocal, saying it will not put pen to paper as long as USA levies on Mexican exports of the metals are still in place.

It could raise the cost of the cars BMW builds in the United States, 70% of which are exported to other countries. The ability to make more components in the USA would help BMW address local content rules, according to Bloomberg. USA imports of new passenger vehicles and parts were worth more than $340 billion previous year.

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White House officials say GM executives have told Trump and Kudlow they are open to considering transferring work on more competitive models to the Ohio, Michigan and Maryland plants.

Meanwhile, it's a fallacy to suggest that the new deal could have either prevented or ended up expediting the cuts, said Dan Ujczo, an OH trade lawyer who hails from Lordstown, the same community outside Cleveland that's home to one of the five GM plants where production is to cease next year.

His tweet about the BMW plant Thursday was premature in declaring that BMW has already made a decision to build the engine plant.

"The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!" the president tweeted on Tuesday, referring to the government bailout of the automaker a decade ago.

And, referring to the 2008 federal bailout of the auto industry, Trump angrily continued that "the USA saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get!"

Under the Trump tax bill, if an automaker with factories outside of the US obtain a certain value, they are taxed at 10.5 percent instead of 21 percent.

Underlining the tough conditions about U.S. imposing tariff rate on Beijing, Larry Kudlow further said, "China should change its practices and come into the community of responsible trading nations". GM will stop production at the Lordstown, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Mich., assembly plants. It said it needs to save money to develop the next generation of electric and self-driving cars. GM has said it expects to hit the 200,000-vehicle threshold by the end of the year.

Trump said the next round of tariffs will also tax laptops and Apple iPhones imported from China. Tariffs have also raised prices on aluminum and steel, forcing up production costs.