Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for the ‘Trade’ Category

European Auto Execs Meet with Trump, Aim to Head Off Expanded Trade War

VW signals a second U.S. plant is in the works.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.05, 2018

President Donald Trump met with the leaders of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen.

Even as President Donald Trump was backpeddling on earlier comments suggesting the trade dispute with China had been defused, the former New York businessman was meeting with European auto industry executives worried that they could become targeted by yet another front in the trade war.

The president has signaled he may enact duties of 25% or more on vehicles imported from Europe, even though his own Commerce Dept. has backed away from plans to declare imported automobiles a threat to national security.

Global News!

Trump “shared his vision of all automakers producing in the United States and creating a more friendly business environment,” the White House said in a statement that followed the meeting with officials from BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen. (more…)

Trump, White House Backtrack on Claims of China Car Tariff Deal

“White House officials are contorting themselves into pretzels” to not say the president lied.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.04, 2018

President Trump is revealing that China's plan to cut tariffs wasn't actually plan, but a starting point for negotiations.

Just days after President Donald Trump emerged from a 2-1/2 hour dinner with China’s Xi Jinping claiming to have an “incredible” trade deal that would, among other things, roll back automotive tariffs, it appears that little to nothing concrete was resolved between the two leaders.

That leaves the auto industry in limbo as manufacturers on both sides of the Pacific try to figure out precisely what to do now, especially when it comes to bilateral automotive exports. Several manufacturers, notably including BMW and Volvo, have been hinting that if the trade war continues they may have to transfer some of their U.S.-based production to plants in China.

News Now!

Following the meeting with Xi at the end of the G-20 conference in Argentina last Sunday, Trump tweeted, “China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.” But he and others in the White House have been forced to backtrack, Trump’s National Economic Council advisor Larry Kudlow telling Fox News a deal “hasn’t been signed and sealed and delivered yet.” (more…)

Trump Claims China Will Cut Tariffs on U.S.-Made Cars

A possible truce in trade war?

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Dec.03, 2018

Chinese President Xi Jinping is temporarily reducing the tariff on U.S.-built vehicles coming into China.

Following a 2-1/2 hour meeting with China’s Xi Jinping, President Donald Trump said the two had agreed to a truce in the U.S.-Chinese trade war, the Asian leader agreeing to drop tariffs on American-made vehicles.

That would be part of a 90-day cease-fire that could lead to a rollback of broader tariffs that have been implemented in recent months, and a halt to the $200 billion in additional duties Trump had threatened to place on Chinese-made goods at the beginning of the new year.

Trade News!

“China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%,” Trump announced in a Sunday night tweet. But it was unclear if his social media comments were completely accurate given his history of misstatements and the fact that the official White House news feed differed with the president on some key elements of the trade talks with China during the weekend. (more…)

Trump Threatens to Kill NAFTA — Again

Move design to pressure Congress to approve new deal.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.03, 2018

President Donald Trump said he might cancel NAFTA immediately, hoping to pressure Congress into approving its replacement deal.

Only a day after signing a new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, President Donald Trump said he is now free to cancel NAFTA in a move that will create major problems for global automakers.

Trump, who is facing mounting political challenges at home, made his remarks to reporters as he prepared to return to the U.S. after the G-20 Summit in Bueno Ares. The remarks came after he had formally signed a new version of NAFTA with leaders from Mexico and Canada.

Trade News!

Trump’s goal in announcing the end of NAFTA is to put pressure on Congress to accept the new agreement with Mexico and Canada.  (more…)

Toyota, PSA Extend Partnership in European Market

PSA selling more commercial vehicles to Toyota.

by Joseph Szczesny on Dec.03, 2018

Toyota will take full ownership of the plant in the Czech Republic it shares with PSA in 2021.

Toyota Motor Corp. and PSA, the Paris-based automaker that operates Peugeot, Citroen and Opel, have made a deal to expand their long-term partnership in the European market.

Under the terms of the new agreement, PSA will expand the range of commercial vehicles that it supplies to Toyota for sale in Europe under the Toyota brand starting in fourth quarter of 2019.

Global News!

In return, Toyota will take full financial ownership, starting in 2021, of the Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile Czech joint-venture plant in Czech Republic, which produces the compact A-segment models, which Toyota will continue to build. (more…)

Volvo Expecting to Slow Ramp-Up of Charleston Plant Due to Trump Tariffs

Hiring to slow; impact could be long-term if some production shifts to China.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.29, 2018

Volvo President & CEO Hakan Samuelsson said the tariffs implemented by the Trump administration are forcing a production slow down at its new Charleston, S.C. plant.

Volvo expects to slow the pace of expansion at its new factory near Charleston, South Carolina, due to the Trump trade war with China.

The move could impact how quickly the automaker expands production at the $1.1 billion plant, as well as the pace at which it brings on new workers. The workforce was expected to nearly triple, to around 4,000, by early in the coming decade with the addition of a second model at the plant. But some production now could be shifted to China, potentially having a long-term impact on plans for the factory.

News Now!

Volvo issued an official statement Thursday noting, “trade issues may impact the pace of the expansion.” But in conversations with reporters at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Wednesday, Volvo’s global CEO Håkan Samuelsson took things further, indicating the production ramp-up will slow down. (more…)

New NAFTA Faces Tough Road to Approval in Congress

Dems want tougher rules on Mexico, Reps want LGBT protections out.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.19, 2018

President Donald Trump's success to NAFTA is facing serious trouble with Democrats and Republicans and may not get passed in its current form.

The new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico that President Donald Trump hailed as a major breakthrough back in August appears headed for serious trouble.

Forty Congressional Republicans have stated they will not vote for the agreement because it includes protections for the LGBT community, according to Politico. The protection for the LGBT community was included in the proposed tentative NAFTA 2.0 at the insistence of negotiators from Canada.

News You Can Trust!

The Republicans are the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives, but campaign means the LGBT section means that the Trump administration cannot pass NAFTA 2.0 without Democratic votes. (more…)

EU Trade Chief Warns Trump Administration to Back Off Tariff Threat

Malmstrom comes to D.C. with a list of tariff targets.

by Michael Strong on Nov.15, 2018

Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU's top trade official, warned that if the Trump administration implemented auto tariffs on the EU, the union would respond in kind.

If President Donald Trump makes good on a threat to impose a 25% tariff on cars and trucks imported into the United States from Europe, the European Union is prepared to implement a new policy of its own: an eye for an eye.

Cecilia Malmstrom, the top trade official for the European Union, met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to talk about trade issues. After the meeting, she warned the EU would implement tariffs of equal size and strength on U.S. goods if Trump made good on his threatened auto tariffs.

Global News!

“It would be a rebalancing list covering a lot of different sectors,” Malmstrom said. “That would be ready if we thought those measures would hit us. We hope not.”  (more…)

Automakers on Edge Over Possibility of New Tariffs

Commerce Dept. findings key to Trump administration's plans.

by Joseph Szczesny on Nov.14, 2018

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is leading the Section 232 investigation into whether or not imported automobiles and parts represent a threat to the United States.

While the U.S. midterm elections have passed, carmakers are waiting on a final decision from the Trump administration on the Section 232 investigation. Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 allows the White House to use national security grounds to impose tariffs on vehicles and auto parts imported into the U.S.

The industry’s lobbyists have said they were expecting the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is responsible for the investigation, to issue its ruling soon, perhaps this week well ahead of the February deadline fixed by the statute. The general assumption is the report will offer Trump a chance to impose new tariffs on autos and auto parts made in Europe and Asia.

Dig Deeper!

The 232 query has become a major issue for the Japanese government of Shinzo Abe, which has spent weeks trying to defuse the administration’s threat to impose tariffs that could have a major impact on the Japanese auto industry. (more…)

Volvo’s Care Subscription Program Key to Growth Plans

VCNA chief acknowledges reliability concerns but says problems, warranty costs, are tumbling.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.08, 2018

Volvo Cars North America CEO Anders Gustafsson with images of some of the first workers at the automaker's new Charleston plant.

U.S. new vehicle sales are on course to post their second consecutive decline as 2018 draws to a close, but you’d have a hard time telling that if you were just looking at Volvo’s numbers.

The Swedish automaker has posted a 27% jump in demand through the end of October and, with more products ready to land in U.S. showrooms, Volvo Cars USA CEO Anders Gustafsson said Thursday he is optimistic the company can keep its momentum growing.

/about/subscribe

Brand News!

Several factors could give meaning to his forecast, including not just the launch of the new Volvo S60, but the start of production at the Chinese-owned automaker’s first U.S. assembly plant in Charleston, South Carolina. Then there’s Care by Volvo, the subscription program the carmaker launched late last year.

(more…)