Trump Slams GM: Plants Close as Economy Grows

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Unifor National President Jerry Dias make their way to a meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ont., on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday retweeted a tweet which said that General Motors should pay back the money the government spent to keep it afloat as part of the auto industry bailout if it doesn't maintain jobs in the country.

"We have talked for the past few years about an engine plant to support our North American production and sales and we are now again investigating this option", BMW said in a statement.

Brown responded to the president's comments on Twitter, saying he would "compare my record standing up for OH and American workers to yours any day". Many of those cuts are coming from the Midwest, where he has promised a manufacturing rebirth. GM has not recently taken advantage of Canadian subsidies.

The UAW would especially like to save Lordstown because it employs the most workers.

USA consumers may be getting ready to pay a little extra for their next vehicle purchase as President Trump revs up threats of 25% tariffs on imported cars.

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A 25-per-cent duty on imported light trucks was applied in the 1960s by President Lyndon Johnson in retaliation to West German tariffs on USA poultry.

GM, and other United States automakers, have opposed the proposal for tariffs on imported cars and parts, saying such a move would hurt its U.S. employment.

In their telephone discussion, however, the two leaders discussed the impact of the plant closings and what could be done to help the workers.

Trump has said in the past that those threats were meant as a way to extract concessions from other countries on unrelated trade matters.

The political rivals spoke on the phone Wednesday evening about how to save up to 1,600 factory jobs the automaker plans to cut at the Lordstown, Ohio, facility, Brown's office said.

"There's disappointment that it seems that GM would rather build its electric cars in China than the United States, and we are going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others, whether they should apply or not". The US imported close to $200 billion of new foreign passenger vehicles and light trucks previous year, according to the US Trade Representative.

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This week, the motor vehicle manufacturer announced its plans to lay off 15 percent of its salaried workforce (up to 14,000 employees) and close five plants in the United States and Canada.

The US President tweeted that tariffs were "being studied" and that duties could have stopped the GM closures.

Companies subject to Trump's attacks typically have been reluctant to respond directly, but industry groups like the Business Roundtable have frequently criticised the administration's trade policies for damaging USA competitiveness and raising costs.

Getting Ottawa to impose tariffs on Mexican-made vehicles would be a long shot.

Trump has also harshly criticized GM for building cars in China.

GM shut down its Australian manufacturing arm in October 2017, closing its Adelaide plant and placing 944 people out of work.

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