General Motors to Restart Manufacturing in China amid Coronavirus Outbreak

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra speaks about the financial outlook of the automaker, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in Detroit. The company issued an optimistic earnings forecast this year based on improved cost efficiencies and continued strong sales in North America and China. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Multinational automaker General Motors (GM) is set to restart manufacturing in China this week amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement to the media, a GM spokesperson said the corporation would restart their manufacturing in China on February 15 after stopping production since late January. To restart Chinese manufacturing, the GM spokesperson said plants would progressively reopen over the next two weeks.

While slashing American jobs and closing plants in the United States over the last three years, GM executives have continued manufacturing vehicles like the Buick, Chevrolet, and Cadillac in China. Many of those vehicles are then sold in the U.S. market.

In December, it was announced that GM executives were rumored to be entering into a joint $2.3 billion venture with South Korean company LG Chem to build an electric vehicle battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio — the small town that has been devastated by GM’s decision to close its manufacturing plant, leaving 1,600 American workers immediately laid off and potentially another 8,000 in supporting industries laid off.

The GM-LG Chem venture is expected to bring about 1,100 jobs to Lordstown residents and be the first unionized electric vehicle battery plant in the U.S., represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW). The new battery plant is expected to begin construction this summer.

Meanwhile, GM CEO Mary Barra is laying off more than 800 American workers from the corporation’s Detroit Hamtramck Assembly plant in Wayne County, Michigan, to retool the facility to build electric vehicles.

As Breitbart News has reported, multinational corporations often tout that their laid-off American workers can join other plants and offices if they are willing to pack up their lives and move. For many GM workers, though, such a move is not an option as it uproots their families and community life.

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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