Trump Tells Japanese Automakers To Build Cars In The US

Frederick Owens
November 8, 2017

"Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over", Trump said as reported by Bloomberg.

But ironically, Trump in January formally withdrew the USA from the Asia-Pacific trade agreement, negotiated in 2015, which would have phased out Japanese tariff quotas. "Is that possible to ask?" I don't think so.

Despite that presence, the USA still runs a trade deficit with Japan of about $69 billion.

"Honda, Subaru, Nissan, Mazda and Toyota built 2.4 million vehicles, accounted for one-third of all USA auto production in 2016", Kristin Dziczek, director of the Center for Automotive Research's industrial, labor and economics group, posted on Twitter. "You do know that", he said Monday. Congratulations. Come on, let me shake your hand. They're going to invest $1.6 billion in building a new manufacturing plant, which will create as many as 4,000 new jobs in the United States. I want to thank you.

During his trip to Japan, Trump complained about the trade imbalance between the two countries. Trump said throughout his campaign that the agreement would hurt the US economy.

By and large, however, American policy makers were reluctant to make trade an issue because of Japan's strategic importance during conflicts in Korea and Vietnam and the long Cold War with the Soviet Union.

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Trump has long called for the U.S.to have better trade deal with other countries including Japan. Exports from Japan to the US have fallen from 3.5 million cars a year in 1986 to just over 1.5 million in 2016.

In January, Trump accused Japan of keeping American auto manufacturers out by putting up regulatory barriers and rigging the currency market in favor of its own brands.

"Japanese automakers have tried: The country's big three vehicle companies already have huge factories in the US, and their production in the country is at a record high". Honda locally manufactured 70% of the 1.2 million vehicles it sold in the U.S.in 2016.

Japanese automaker Honda had three models out of the top 10 on Cars.com's 2017 American-Made Index; its luxury subsidiary Acura had another.

Thus far Japanese automakers are staying quiet in response to Trump's remarks.

The organization pointed to a study it released in October that showed that Japanese automakers built almost 4 million cars in the U.S.in 2016 and supported 1.5 million domestic jobs that were located at 24 manufacturing plants and 43 research and design facilities in 20 states.

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