Thursday, 13 December, 2018

GM warns against potential vehicle tariffs

Automakers, manufacturers oppose Trump call for auto tariffs Mazda Condemns Trump’s Proposed 25 Percent Import Car Tariff
Orlando Vargas | 03 July, 2018, 02:31

The Commerce Department plans two days of public hearings next month and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week he aimed to wrap up the probe into whether imported vehicles represent a national security threat by late July or August.

"Increased import tariffs could lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and risk less - not more - usa jobs", the nation's largest automaker said in comments submitted last Friday to the Commerce Department, which Mr Ross leads. It buys tens of billions of dollars' worth of parts from US suppliers every year, and has invested over 22 billion dollars in USA manufacturing operations since 2009.

In Sunday's interview with Fox, Trump said the tariffs are needed in part because of the European Union's barriers to US-built vehicles. A similar investigation took place before the Trump Administration imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. "They are not a national security threat".

The same outlet noted that other GOP members, like Senator Bob Corker, Senator Ben Sasse, and House Speaker Paul Ryan, have also openly and publicly opposed Trump's tariffs.

The Association of Global Automakers, a Washington-based trade group that represents vehicle manufacturers and parts suppliers based outside the US, called the potential duties "the greatest threat to the USA automotive industry at this time".

On June 6, the World Bank, in its latest Global Economic Prospects report, warned: "A broad-based increase in tariffs worldwide would have major adverse consequences for global trade and activity", the report said. Some analysts suggested the auto tariffs are meant to pressure Mexico into renegotiating the NAFTA trade pact. A tariff is a tax and it will be paid by American consumers.

The largest USA automaker added that tariffs risk leading to fewer American jobs, not more, and lower wages.

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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 towards pivotal technologies including electric and self-driving cars.

BMW and Hyundai urged the United States not to impose tariffs on auto imports, joining General Motors in pressing their case to the Commerce Department even as a top aide to president Donald Trump dismissed the concerns as "smoke and mirrors".

Toyota Motor Corp on Friday also filed separate comments opposing the tariffs saying they would "threaten U.S. manufacturing, jobs, exports and economic prosperity".

About 80 percent of what Ford sells in the U.S.is built in the United States.

Both GM and Toyota warned that US consumers would bear the brunt of increased costs. The EU has a 10% tariff on vehicles imported from the U.S. China imposes a 25% duty on U.S. cars.

The deadline to submit comments was Friday. Hearings are now scheduled for July on the issue, with June 29 being the last day to file comments on the proposed tariff.

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