US Tariffs on More Foreign Vehicles Would Have Prevented GM Plant Closures

The US president Donald Trump, talks with the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, in the presence of the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the Prime Minister from Canada Justin Trudeau (seco

Separately, the Trump administration warned it may raise tariffs on Chinese vehicle imports.

"If GM doesn't want to keep their jobs in the United States, they should pay back the $11.2 billion bailout that was funded by the American taxpayer", read the tweet by The Trump Train, which calls itself a fan account of the president.

Trump also indicated the impact of 25 percent tariffs over the imported trucks and commercial vans from markets outside North America.

A similar tariff on auto imports would mean "many more cars would be built here" and "GM would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland", he tweeted.

Before GM can shutter factories next year in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, Canada, it must reach agreement with the United Auto Workers union. Steel tariffs led to increased prices on imports of the metal, and in turn inflated domestic steel prices, according to auto suppliers and executives who testified on Capitol Hill in September. It goes without saying that a possible 25 per cent tariff would have an enormous impact on the U.S. vehicle industry.

The proposal to put tariffs on foreign cars and vehicle parts in the name of national security has been widely criticised, both in Congress and in the business world.

Japanese-made passenger vehicles imported to the USA totaled an estimated $40 billion in 2017 and German-made cars totaled $20 billion in the same year.

Numerous jobs would be eliminated in Midwestern U.S. states, a region where Trump has long promised a manufacturing rebirth.

Trump said earlier this week the chances of holding off a tariff increase to 25% is "highly unlikely", and he repeated threats to impose tariffs on an additional $267 billion of goods from China, which would cover almost all Chinese imports to the U.S.

"The President has great power on this issue - Because of the GM event, it is being studied now", Mr Trump said. The Chinese previous year shipped just $884 million worth of cars and light trucks to the United States - less than 1 percent of total auto imports.

The pair are expected to speak on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, in a meeting that will be closely watched for any progress on their bitter trade dispute.

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