President Donald Trump reiterated his threat to put tariffs on all cars made in Mexico on Friday morning, saying the tariff will be a whopping 25 percent.
“Mexico, I have to say, has been very good over the last four days, since I talked about shutting down the border” Trump told reporters on the White House lawn, just before leaving for a trip to the border. “If they continue that, everything will be fine. If they don’t, we’re going to tariff their cars at 25 percent coming into the United States. So very time they make a car it’s a 25 percent tariff.”
“That means, we make money as opposed to lose money,” he added, saying there’s a 100 percent chance that tariffs will work to force Mexico to stop the flow of drugs and illegal aliens into the United States, and would also probably bring car manufacturing back into the United States.
General Motors makes more cars in Mexico than any other U.S. automaker, and is expected to shift even more production there in the coming years. The company announced in November of 2018 that it will close three assembly plants in the U.S. and Canada, including one in Detroit, one in Lordstown, Ohio, and one in Ontario.
By the end of November of 2018, GM said it had built more than 800,000 vehicles in Mexico at its three assembly plants in the country. According to a researcher, the average wage that U.S. automakers pay in Mexico is $1.90 an hour, as compared to a starting wage of about $17 and hour in the United States.
Automobile manufacturing is one of Mexico’s biggest industries, with almost 840,000 Mexicans employed in assembly plants or the manufacturing of auto parts in 2017.
“The whole ball game is cars,” Trump said on Thursday. “Its the big ball game. With many countries, it’s cars.”
“And if that doesn’t work,” said Trump. “We close the border.”
Trump said he’ll give Mexico a one-year warning before imposing tariffs on cars, and will also include tariffs on other products coming into the United States from Mexico.
Economists have warned that tariffs on car imports from Mexico will mean lost jobs for Americans.
But Trump isn’t having it, saying the steel industry in America is “so hot right now” because of the 25 percent tariff he put on imported steel in 2018, most of it from China.
Trump also put 30 to 50 percent tariffs on solar panels and washing machines in 2018 and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum.
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