Trump tells automakers he'll ease environmental regulations

Terry Joseph
January 25, 2017

"We look forward to working with President Trump and members of Congress to strengthen American manufacturing", Marchionne says.

The sit-down with Ford, General Motors and FCA US comes on the heels of a campaign where Trump criticized the automakers for importing vehicles from plants outside of the U.S. He has pledged a 35% tariff on those products and also targeted foreign automakers such as BMW for their imports. All major automakers have plants and suppliers on both sides of the border.

"We didn't cut a deal with Trump", he reportedly said.

"We had a very constructive and wide-ranging discussion about how we can work together on policies that support a strong and competitive economy and auto industry, one that supports the environment and safety", Barra said.

Environmentalism is out of control, Trump told the heads of the three biggest United States carmakers. However, Fields said the company did not cut a deal with the president. He wants them to keep new plants in the make cars sold here.

Automakers have expanded operations at existing US plants to meet rising demand for trucks and SUVs.

General Motors, which was also attacked by Trump, announced last week it would invest an additional $1 billion in its USA factories and shift production of some parts from Mexico to the U.S.

Between them, foreign automakers employ tens of thousands of workers at their US facilities.

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GM recently announced that it will be injecting a billion dollars in United States in order to boost the production facilities in the country; the investment is coupled with employment opportunities for about 1,500 people.

BMW and VW have about 12,000 workers between their plants in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In early January, Ford announced plans to put $700 million into its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in MI as part of a five-year, $4.5 billion investment in electric and autonomous vehicles.

Still, Trump claimed credit for bringing auto jobs on Twitter.

"We want regulations but we want real regulations that mean something", he said. Today, those plants seem to be shifting more toward low-priced vehicle production while American plants build costlier, more complex models in an effort to keep profit margins sustainable. "Maybe more", Mr Trump said on Monday. Those U.S. job gains exceed each company's total employment at their Mexican plants.

Trump's automaker meeting comes just at the beginning of his presidency, as he's making a big push to expand jobs in the US. Numerous plans were promised in 2015 labor deals with the United Auto Workers union.

Matt Blunt, who heads a US automaker trade association and attended the meeting, told Reuters that Trump asked what his administration could do "on domestic and trade policy that would help make the United States more competitive and strengthen the ability of automakers to add production here".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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