Trump: GM Made ‘Bad Investment’ Building Manufacturing Plants in China

Shanghai GM
FREDERIC J. BROWN AFP/Getty Images
JOHN BINDER

President Trump says in wake of his tariffs on China, General Motors (GM) made a “bad investment” when the multinational corporation decided to gut its American manufacturing base to move auto plants to the communist country.

In an interview with CNBC, Trump blasted GM for outsourcing and offshoring thousands of American manufacturing jobs to China and then exporting vehicles back into the U.S. market via the country’s free trade absolutist approach of the last two decades.

Trump said:

If you look at what General Motors did, they moved so much into China. They can’t be happy about paying tariffs like we’re charging, 25 percent for cars. They built massive car factories, automobile plants, in China. So what happened is China has a tariff of 45 percent. We have a tariff of basically zero. It’s two-and-a-half percent. But basically, it’s zero. So they sell us a car, it comes right into our country, no problem. We sell them a car, we have to pay 45 percent. It doesn’t work that way and it’s not going to work that way anymore. [Emphasis added]

Trump suggested that the corporation made a huge misstep by believing the playing field would not eventually be leveled through tariffs on Chinese imports, thus crippling their offshoring, made-in-China business model.

Trump increased tariffs to 25 percent recently on $200 billion worth of Chinese products and is considering  imposing a 25 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese products.

“Well, General Motors does not want to see us put a 25 percent tariff on China … when they built those plants there was no tariff,” Trump said:

So they build a car in China and they send it into the United States. Same with Ford, same with others. Now with a 25 percent wall, those plants … don’t work anymore. They made a bad investment. So they’re going to say, ‘Oh, Trump’s a bad guy. He doesn’t know what he’s doing about tariffs.’ No. What’s going to happen is they’re going to have to come to the United States to build their plant. [Emphasis added]

Most recently, as Breitbart News detailed, GM announced that while already helping to lay off thousands of middle class Americans through the closure of the automaker’s Lordstown, Ohio plant — and plans to close two plants in Michigan and another in Maryland — they would begin building a handful of vehicles in South Korea and export them back to the U.S. to be sold.

The closure of the Lordstown Assembly Plant has left laid-off American workers in the region fed up with what they say is the growing divide between the country’s ruling elite, and their allies in the big business lobby, and working and middle class Americans.

“Nobody had our backs in office, not Democrats or Republicans,” a laid-off GM worker told the New York Times. “I’m tired of being sugarcoated and being robbed in the process.”

Despite pushback from the billionaire donor class, the big business lobby, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over Trump’s imposing tariffs on Chinese imports, the American public — specifically Republican voters — are largely in favor of tariffs to protect American workers and U.S. industries from unfair, foreign competition in the market.

The latest Harvard/Harris Poll revealed that the vast majority, nearly 8-in-10, of Republican voters support tariffs on Chinese imports. Likewise, close to 85 percent of Trump supporters said they support tariffs on China, and 76 percent of conservative voters said the same. A majority, 53 percent, of all U.S. voters said they support tariffs on Chinese imports.

Analysis from New York Magazine following the 2016 presidential election found that economic libertarians — the ideology supported by the billionaire Koch Brothers and the Chamber of Commerce — are nearly nonexistent in the American electorate.

Experts have called on Trump to implement a 25 percent auto tariff to protect American auto worker jobs and the U.S. auto industry from Chinese domination. Likewise, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), vying for the Democrat nomination for president, has told Trump to immediately ban GM from receiving federal contracts due to their outsourcing, offshoring, and mass layoff scheme.

GM is also looking to manufacture an electric Cadillac in China and continue manufacturing its Envision compact vehicle in China. The made-in-Mexico Chevrolet Blazer will soon arrive in U.S. markets. Last year, GM became the largest automaker in Mexico, as it has cut jobs in America and increased production in Mexico.

American manufacturing is vital to the U.S. economy, as every one manufacturing job supports an additional 7.4 American jobs in other industries. Decades of free trade, with deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have eliminated nearly five million manufacturing jobs from the American economy and resulted in the closure of about 50,000 manufacturing plants.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder

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