Trump prods GM over its plants in China

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The president’s comments come as GM has made cutbacks that have, for the first time, left the automaker with the smallest UAW membership among the Detroit 3. GM did not immediately comment on Trump’s tweets.

Trump’s ire with GM comes as contract talks with the UAW with the Detroit 3 automakers intensify ahead of a Sept. 14 deadline. Trump has previously attacked GM for building vehicles in Mexico and for ending production at plants in Michigan, Ohio and Maryland.

GM’s decision to close four plants in the United States is a central issue in the contract talks.

China is the world’s largest auto market and government policy favors automakers assembling vehicles there, and not importing them from overseas.

In response to Trump’s latest tariffs, China said last week it will reinstitute 25 percent tariffs on U.S.-made vehicles.

GM sold 3.6 million vehicles in China last year accounting for 43 percent of its worldwide sales. GM booked $2 billion in equity income from its China operations last year.

GM imports a small number of vehicles from China. In June, the Trump administration rejected a request from GM to exempt its Chinese-made Buick Envision from a 25 percent U.S. tariff on utility vehicles.

The compact crossover has become a target for U.S. critics of Chinese-made goods, including leaders of the UAW members in key political swing states such as Michigan and Ohio.

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