GM says U.S. import tariffs could mean 'smaller' company, fewer jobs

Anna Jefferson
July 3, 2018

It warned that the potential tariff on cars and parts would have a negative impact on all manufacturers, increasing the cost of imported vehicles as well as those built in the US, but rely on parts from overseas.

Last month, Trump ordered the Department of Commerce to launch an investigation to determine whether importing automobiles and auto parts poses a threat to national security (yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds).

"If import tariffs on automobiles are not tailored to specifically advance the objectives of the economic and national security goals of the United States, increased import tariffs could lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and abroad" for GM and, "risk less - not more - U.S.jobs", the Detroit automaker said.

"And here's a real kicker for those who haven't figured out Trump's game plan yet - Some White House aides have said the only reason Trump is pursuing the national security" issue on tariffs is to get Canada and Mexico to agree to his concessions on the North American Free Trade Agreement, reports Reuters.

Friday is the deadline for public comments on Trump's call for a Commerce investigation into whether auto imports pose enough of a threat to USA national security to justify tariffs, according to the Associated Press.

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Trade associations for the auto industry, as well as companies that include Toyota, BMW and Volvo also submitted comments in opposition to the tariffs. The president cited similar security concerns to justify imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Trump argued that his administration was imposing the tariffs in the interest of US national security, citing rarely used Section 232 laws.

Although GM remains committed to the American market, where it operates 47 manufacturing facilities and 25 service part facilities, employing over 100,000 Americans, tariffs undermine the automaker's ability to compete globally.

The Japanese automaker also said the tariffs would harm some of the U.S.'s closest allies, including Canada, when such Commerce investigations traditionally inspect whether imports come from unsafe sources.

GM has 47 manufacturing sites and 25 service-part facilities in the US, where it employs around 110,000 people.

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Canada also happens to buy more American steel than any country in the world, accounting for half of USA exports of the product. Trump has threatened to impose significant new tariffs on auto parts and cars if Canada implements the retaliatory tariffs .


The proposed tariff has already prompted widespread criticism from various organizations and manufacturers of the North American auto industry.

If GM were to try to absorb the additional costs, it would have less money to invest in popular vehicles that sustain manufacturing jobs, or toward pivotal technologies including electric and self-driving cars.

The automaker said tariffs on imports of cars and auto parts - on top of an earlier spate of penalties - could drive prices up by thousands of dollars.

About 80 percent of what Ford sells in the U.S.is built in the United States. That same day, the largest nail manufacturer in the U.S.

The US Commerce Department did not immediately comment Friday.

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Toyota imported about 54% of its vehicles sold in the USA last year, or about 1.3 million units, according to LMC.

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