Trump raises prospect of import vehicle tariff after GM cutback plan

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Trump raises prospect of import vehicle tariff after GM cutback plan

Trump said the next round of tariffs will also tax laptops and Apple iPhones imported from China.

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.

Trump said on Twitter that the 25 percent tariff placed on imported pickup trucks and commercial vans from markets outside North America in the 1960s has long boosted USA vehicle production.

More cars would be assembled in the USA if the same tariff were applied on imported cars, Trump said, adding in a second tweet that "G.M. would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland".

Before GM can shutter factories next year in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario, Canada, it must reach agreement with the United Auto Workers union.

Addressing the current tensions between Washington and Beijing, US President Donald Trump defended his protectionist trade policies, urging companies to relocate facilities back to the United States and create more jobs for Americans.

The United States now imposes a 2.5 per cent import tariff on all overseas manufactured cars.

In May, Mr Trump asked the department to determine the effect of imports of cars and auto parts on national security. Currently, US has placed a 2.5% tariff over the imported cars and sport utility vehicles from any market outside North America and South Korea. A similar process led to new tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium this spring. "The President has great power on this issue - Because of the G.M. event, it is being studied now!"

"As the president has repeatedly noted, China's aggressive, state-directed industrial policies are causing severe harm to U.S. workers and manufacturers", Mr Lighthizer said.

Meanwhile, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday that Trump had to look at how to increase tariffs on Chinese vehicle imports from 27.5% to 40%, to bring them in line with the tariffs China levies on U.S. auto imports-China imposes lower tariffs of 15% on imports from other countries.

It comes a day before a highly anticipated meeting between Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Lighthizer said China's policies continue to cause "severe harm" to US manufacturers, and "as of yet, China has not come to the table with proposals for meaningful reform".

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