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In a presentation GM provided to some congressional offices, the automaker said it plans to import 17,335 vehicles from China to the U.S. in 2011 and 38,351 in 2012. The number of imported vehicles from China is expected to grow to 53,302 in 2013 and 51,546 in 2014.
That would be less than 2 percent of the 3 million vehicles GM sold in the U.S. last year — about one-third of which already are made overseas.
Fact is, GM's a multinational. It's got asian factories that sell product we call a US product overseas. Honda isn't pulling out all its plants in the US, and we're not forcing GM to give up overseas biz. Similarly, a good number of US-built cars (albeit under Honda's nameplates, I believe,) are sold in Europe.
You want tariffs back to protect our jobs? Okay. Other countries will want tariffs to protect their jobs. Or, since we are bigger consumers than we are producers, if you think tariffs are good, howzabout they say "fine, we cut off your credit then."
Good people on both the right and the left want for obvious reasons to protect American jobs. GM's restructuring gives them a better shot at competing with the transplants here in the US. And guess what -- a "weak" dollar (which the same people bemoan, when they see calls for a new reserve currency,) -- actually means more jobs here. US manufacturing costs are lower when the dollar is weaker. Flip side: Inflation.
Pay more dollars for foreign goods... wages lag.... and we all take another step in the "race to the bottom" in terms of labor. In terms of consumerism, we get less bang for the buck. But in terms of jobs, people will buy our goods once the standards of living are closer (and by "people" I mean us as well.)
This is not an impassioned plea one way or another. It's just how the world works.
One more point:
All you cap-and-trade nervous nellies: how do you run a Ro-ro*? Deisel. That means your much-bemoaned "tax" on emissions serves as the sort of barrier to imports you like so much. It also serves as a barrier to imports of US goods overseas, but we've established that we "win" if imports and exports are both reduced. The climate also "wins" if you sell your goods close to home. QED.
Am I "for" or "against" this effect? I dunno. It just is.
* Ro-ro is shipping industry parlance for "roll on/roll off," the big boxy ships that move vehicles over oceans.
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