Trump urges US automakers to make big push for new plants
Trump vowed to cut regulations and taxes to make it more attractive for businesses to operate in the United States. Photograph: (AFP)
US President Donald Trump pushed the chief executives of General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Tuesday to increase production in the United States and boost American employment.
Trump opened a meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Mark Fields and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at the White House, saying he wants to see new auto plants built in the United States.
"We have a very big push on to have auto plants and other plants," he told reporters.
The new Republican president, who took office last Friday, vowed to cut regulations and taxes to make it more attractive for businesses to operate in the United States.
"I want new plants to be built here for cars sold here!" Trump said in a tweet ahead of the meeting with automakers, saying he would discuss US jobs with the chief executives.
Will be meeting at 9:00 with top automobile executives concerning jobs in America. I want new plants to be built here for cars sold here!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2017
US automakers have been reluctant to open new US auto plants in recent years, but they have expanded some operations at existing plants.
Trump has criticised automakers for building cars in Mexico and elsewhere and has threatened to impose 35 per cent tariffs on imported vehicles.
The meeting is the latest sign of Trump's uncommon degree of intervention for a US president into corporate affairs as he has repeatedly pressured automakers and other manufacturers to "buy American and hire American".
Tuesday's gathering was the first time the CEOs of the big three automakers have met jointly with a US president since a July 2011 session with former Democratic President Barack Obama to tout a deal to nearly double fuel efficiency standards to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Fiat Chrysler is the Italian-American parent of the former Michigan-based Chrysler.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Monday that Trump was looking forward at the meeting "to hearing their ideas about how we can work together to bring more jobs back to this industry."
US and foreign automakers have been touting plans to boost American jobs and investments in the face of Trump's comments. Trump, a New York real estate developer, often singled out Ford's Mexico investments for criticism during his election campaign.