Trump raises prospect of import car tariff after GM cutback plan

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Wall Street Journal automotive reporter Tim Higgins said that Volvo Car Group CEO Hakan Samuelsson voiced his concerned about auto tariffs affecting consumers in the showrooms.

He was referring to the automaker's plan to shut down 5 factories.

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

"If we did that with cars coming in, many more cars would be built here", Trump said, "and GM would not be closing their plants in Ohio, Michigan & Maryland".

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 statement comes after US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer confirmed he would follow Trump's direction and examine the option to impose higher tariffs on Chinese-produced.

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In May, Mr Trump asked the department to determine the effect of imports of cars and vehicle parts on national security.

On Tuesday, the USA president suggested he could place 10 percent tariffs on popular electronic products imported from China, also confirming that Washington would likely increase tariffs on Chinese production from 10 percent to 25 percent on 1 January. Steel tariffs led to increased prices on imports of the metal, and in turn inflated domestic steel prices, according to auto suppliers and executives who testified on Capitol Hill in September.

"China's policies are especially egregious with respect to automobile tariffs", Mr Lighthizer said.

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

These comments from both Trump and Lighthizer come days before the G20 summit in Argentina, in which Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet with Trump. China imposed a 40% tariff on USA vehicle imports - much higher than the 15% it places on other trading partners. China countered by imposing taxes on $60 billion worth of USA goods. However, for Chinese manufactured cars this figure rises to 25 per cent.

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