General Motors: Trump auto tariffs threaten USA jobs

General Motors: Trump auto tariffs threaten USA jobs

Foreign automakers, American manufacturers and classic-car enthusiasts are coming out against President Donald Trump's plan to consider taxing imported cars, trucks and auto parts.

The administration ordered an investigation to determine whether or not the imports are a threat to national security.

General Motors warned on Friday that expansive United States tariffs on imported vehicles being considered by the Trump administration could lead to "a smaller GM" and risks isolating U.S. businesses from the global market.

The largest U.S. automaker said in comments filed on Friday with the department that overly broad tariffs could "lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and overseas for this iconic American company, and risk less - not more - USA jobs".

Several of the worlds leading automakers, including GM and Toyota Motor Corp., filed comments this week detailing concerns about the proposed 25 per cent tariffs on US imports of vehicles and automotive parts.

Business groups sent in comments this week to the Commerce Department, which is investigating whether Section 232 tariffs should apply to imports of automobiles and auto parts in the interest of national security.

"General Motors and Toyota were unusually vocal about the impact on the threatened tariffs", said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for AutoTrader in Detroit.

President Trump is looking to add severe tariffs of as much as 25 percent on imported steel and aluminum, which would lead to retaliatory tariffs that could spark a global trade war.

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The Trump administration has said the confrontational posture is needed to address trade agreements that have harmed the U.S. and cost jobs.

GM, the largest USA automaker, operates 47 manufacturing facilities and 25 service part facilities across the country, employing approximately 110,000 people. The company added that worldwide automakers assembling vehicles in the USA are based in countries that are USA allies, including Japan, Germany, and South Korea.

America's largest carmaker has added its voice to the chorus of companies and countries criticising proposed United States tariffs on foreign cars and auto parts. GM plans to combine "proprietary battery technology, a low-priced, flexible vehicle design and high-volume production mainly in China", Reuters reports, citing six current and former GM and supplier executives and six industry experts.

"Economic security is national security", the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers wrote in comments submitted to the US Commerce Department, ahead of a hearing on the proposed trade action.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One as he traveled from Washington to New Jersey, Trump also said the USA has been treated very badly by the WTO, but he is not considering withdrawing from it at this point.

Both GM and Toyota warned that USA consumers would bear the brunt of increased costs.

The carmaker now imports all vehicles it sells in the US, mostly from Japan and Mexico, and is building a new auto factory in Huntsville, Alabama, with Toyota Motor Corp.

The automaker said tariffs on imports of cars and vehicle parts - on top of an earlier spate of penalties - could drive prices up by thousands of dollars. "Harley is an American bike" and "they should build them in this country", he said. Detroit's "Big Three" and other manufacturers, including BMW and Mercedes-Benz, export vehicles from US factories to overseas markets.

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