U.S. President Donald Trump touted the use of U.S. tariffs on foreign small trucks Wednesday, saying their placement on other foreign vehicles would have prevented the closure of several General Motors plants and the loss of thousands of coveted manufacturing jobs.
Trump noted on Twitter that brisk U.S. small truck sales in the country are due to a 25-percent tariff on small truck imports.
The president reiterated on Twitter that "countries that send us cars have taken advantage of the U.S. for decades.” Trump added he has “great power on this issue,” which he said “is being studied now.”
Trump has threatened to eliminate all federal subsidies to GM in response to the company’s planned closure of five plants and the elimination of 14,000 jobs in North America. Questions remain, though, about whether Trump has the authority to act against the automaker without congressional approval.
Federal tax credits of up to $7,500 are available to those who buy GM electric vehicles. Killing the subsidies may have little financial impact on GM because it is on the cusp of reaching its subsidy limit.
Many of the jobs would be eliminated in Midwestern U.S. states, a region where Trump has long promised a manufacturing rebirth.
GM, which said it has invested more than $22 billion in U.S. operations since it came out of bankruptcy in 2009, has tried to appease the Trump administration while justifying its decisions.
“We appreciate the actions this administration has taken on behalf of industry to improve the overall competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing,” GM said in a statement Tuesday.
Before GM can shutter factories next year in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, Canada, it must reach agreement with the United Auto Workers union. The union has vowed to fight the closures legally and in collective bargaining.
GM’s restructuring reflects changes in buying trends in North America, prompting vehicle manufacturers to shift away from cars and toward SUVs and trucks.