GM WARNS: Trump's tariffs 'undermine our ability to compete'

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General Motors fell as much as 2% Friday afternoon when it warned that US tariffs on imported vehicles, currently being considered by The White House, could “undermine” its ability to compete globally.

In a filing with the US Commerce Department, the country’s largest automaker said that any new taxes on imported cars or trucks could lead to it shrinking the company.

“Increased import tariffs could lead to a smaller GM, a reduced presence at home and abroad for this iconic American company, and risk less – not more – U.S. jobs,” the company said. “The threat of steep tariffs on vehicle and auto component imports risks undermining GM’s competitiveness against foreign auto producers by erecting broad brush trade barriers that increase our global costs, remove a key means of competing with manufacturers in lower – wage countries, and promote a trade environment in which we could be retaliated against in other markets.”

Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson said earlier this week that new tariffs imposed by Europe on certain manufactured goods will cause a “tremendous cost increase” that the company will have to shoulder. It also said it would seek to move manufacturing of European-bound bikes outside of the US.

The new EU tariffs came in retaliation to US taxes on imported steel and aluminium, enacted earlier this year. China has also responded by taxing imports from the US. Experts have warned that an all-out trade war could kill hundreds of thousands of American jobs while increasing the prices consumers pay for goods across the board.

“Combined with the other trade actions currently being pursued by the U.S. Government-namely the 232 Steel and Aluminium tariffs and the Section 301 tariffs against Chinese imports-the threat of additional tariffs on automobile imports could be detrimental to our company,” GM said. “At some point, this tariff impact will be felt by customers.”

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