Trump administration presses German automakers to expand U.S. investments

Vastavam web: Trump administration officials on Tuesday were expected to push senior executives of leading German automakers to expand their investments in the United States as the White House considers imposing new tariffs on European-made vehicles. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow were among those holding meetings with Daimler AG , BMW AG and Volkswagen AG executives.

The U.S. officials aim “to discuss investment opportunities in the U.S., which includes manufacturing and other forms of investment (including) R&D in new generation technologies,” White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said. Trump has threatened to impose stiff tariffs on cars assembled in the European Union as part of his “America First” trade policy.

Although the European Commission handles trade negotiations on behalf of the common trading bloc, the Trump administration has summoned the auto bosses as part of a campaign to “rebalance” global trade flows. Speaking on Monday, Kudlow said the Trump administration would talk about “a lot of things, including our hope that they will continue to invest directly in the U.S. and that they will use (North American) content make engines here, if you will.”

Last week, BMW said it was considering building a second manufacturing plant in the United States that could produce engines and transmissions, drawing praise from Trump, who has made the revitalization of U.S. manufacturing a key pillar of his economic program. A U.S. government official briefed on the matter told Reuters on Monday that no final report on the investigation is expected for at least a couple of weeks.