Ohio Representatives urge GM to reverse course after announced plant closures

Jeannie Matthews
December 1, 2018

Mr Trump unleashed the comments on Twitter a day after GM announced it would close down five vehicle factories and slash 14,000 jobs in North America, with numerous job cuts coming from the Midwest, where the President has promised a rebirth of manufacturing.

In its announcement, GM said it would effectively close five assembly and propulsion plants in the United States and Canada in 2019, a reorganization plan meant to make the company "highly agile, resilient and profitable".

Numerous job cuts would affect the Midwest, the politically crucial region where the president promised a manufacturing rebirth.

GM declined to comment on Schumer's remarks.

Trump's suggestion that he may implement a new industry-wide tariff on auto imports isn't new: it's something he's been threatening for months.

Trump said on Twitter that the 25 percent tariff placed on imported pickup trucks and commercial vans from markets outside North America in the 1960s had long boosted United States vehicle production. For Mary Barra, GM's chief executive, the plan to close a handful of older plants and dismiss more than 14,000 employees came down to basic economics.

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

"The President has great power on this issue", he wrote. By the end of next year, production will cease at plants in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and Ontario in Canada.

Also, BMW didn't announce a major new plant, but its CEO said Tuesday the company is considering a new USA engine factory to supply assembly plants in SC and Mexico. "We are going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others and whether they should apply or not. Don't move, don't sell your house", he said.

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A White House rebuke to GM would fly in the face of long-held Republican opposition to picking winners in the marketplace.

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that General Motors should pay back the money the government spent to keep it afloat as part of the auto industry bailout.

"That's OH, and you better get back in there soon", he said.

What that would look like wasn't immediately clear: electric vehicles are eligible for a US$7,500 federal tax credit, but neither the president nor Kudlow provided additional details as to whether that's what they're reconsidering. But GM is on the cusp of reaching its subsidy limit.

Germany's BMW has a plant in SC with 10,000 employees. As of now, GM shares are back to where they were before Monday's big announcement. "A recent study by Trade Partnership estimated that roughly 150,000 net jobs would be lost in the USA if these tariffs are imposed". He argued that a similar import tax on cars would have prevented GM's move to close plants in the US.

"The president promised that no plants would be closed", said Brown.

"It's the classic Trump thing of policies he supports working against goals he also supports", Dutta added.

They also cast a pall over this week's signing of the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement, the hard-won successor to NAFTA that Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, acknowledged Tuesday was created to foster the growth of the auto sector.

Last July, President Donald Trump came to my hometown in Ohio.

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