Nov 28, 2018 - Economy & Business

Reality check: Trump misses the mark on GM auto tariffs

President Trump suggested Wednesday that a 25% tariff on imported cars would lead to more U.S.-built vehicles, tweeting that a big tariff similar to the so-called "chicken tax" against imported trucks in the 1970s would have prevented General Motors from closing plants in Michigan, Ohio, Maryland and Canada.

Reality check: The chicken tax did indeed prompt Japanese automakers to open plants on U.S. soil. Since then, of course, Japanese carmakers have made the U.S. their second home, becoming models of efficiency that has been difficult for U.S. carmakers to compete with. But there's no reason to think new tariffs on imported cars would have changed GM's decision. It's not replacing vehicles built at the closed plants with imports; it's eliminating them because no one wants to buy them.

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