President Trump Thinks Auto Tariffs Would Have Saved GM's Plants

U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters before boarding the Marine One helicopter to begin his travel to Mississippi from the White House in Washington

President Trump Thinks Auto Tariffs Would Have Saved GM's Plants

Trump levied tariffs on both metals in March citing their imports as threats to US national security.

The US President tweeted that tariffs were "being studied" and that duties could have stopped the GM closures. The president is angry over the announcement Monday that GM plans to close plants and eliminate 14,000 jobs in North America.

In a pair of Wednesday tweets, the president pointed to the 25% levies that are placed on pickup-truck imports into the USA, and said this "chicken tax" was the reason why the us small truck business is doing well.

In a statement Wednesday, U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer complained that China slaps 40 percent tariffs on U.S. auto imports - more than the 15 percent tariffs it imposes on other countries and the 27.5 percent U.S. tax on Chinese auto imports.

The United States now has a 2.5 percent tariff on imported cars and sport utility vehicles from markets outside North America and South Korea.

Addressing the current tensions between Washington and Beijing, US President Donald Trump defended his protectionist trade policies, urging companies to relocate facilities back to the United States and create more jobs for Americans.

"As the President has repeatedly noted, China's aggressive, State-directed industrial policies are causing severe harm to U.S. workers and manufacturers", Lighthizer said.

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More cars would be assembled in the US if the same tariff were applied on imported cars, Trump said, adding in a second tweet that "G.M. would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland".

Trump is set to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit this week in Buenos Aires, Argentina amidst the intensifying trade war between the world's two largest economies.

Several automakers said privately on Wednesday they feared GM's action could prompt Trump to take action faster than expected on new tariffs. China countered by imposing taxes on $60 billion worth of US goods.

The US imposed a 25% tariff on Chinese cars, on top of the 2.5% already in place.

Trump said it was "highly unlikely" he'll accept China's request to postpone the tariff hike, which will take effect on January 1, 2019.

The White House in recent weeks has reached out to the chief executives of German automakers including Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen about meeting to discuss the status of the auto trade.

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