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BMW Committed to "Free Trade" Despite Trump Tweet; Automakers Warn Tariff Would Cost U.S. $45B Annually 

BMW has promised to remains committed to free trade and being "a good corporate citizen," despite President Trump's tweet today about possible tariffs on cars and car parts coming from the European Union.

"We are finishing our study of Tariffs on cars from the E.U. in that they have long taken advantage of the U.S. in the form of Trade Barriers and Tariffs. In the end it will all even out - and it won't take very long,” President Trump tweeted.

The White House imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel coming in from the EU, Mexico and Canada in late May

Trump spoke about the issue Monday night as he campaigned for Henry McMaster in South Carolina.

“They send Mercedes, they send the BMWs, we tax them practically nothing,” Mr. Trump said. “We cant send our cars and if we do they charge many, many times the tax that we stupidly don't charge. So I told them, here's what we're gonna do, we're going to charge a tariff on steel, until such time that you straighten out your act and you let us have fair.”  

The president’s statement was met with cheers and applause.

Kenn Sparks, from Greer at BMW’s U.S. Head of Corporate Communications released this statement:

“The threat of additional tariffs has been around for many months, this is nothing new.  BMW has been a committed corporate citizen in the U.S. for more than a quarter-century.  We honor and fulfill our commitments, especially to the more than 70,000 Americans whose jobs and careers we support and sustain, some 10,000 of whom are at our South Carolina plant.  As a global company, the BMW Group is committed to free trade worldwide.  Free trade is the basis for the $9 billion dollar investment BMW has made to date in our South Carolina plant, which is now our largest in the world, and the highest value exporter of vehicles from the U.S. to more than 130 countries around the world.”

An automotive trade group said on Tuesday it would tell the Trump administration that a U.S. threat to impose a tariff of up to 25 percent on imported passenger vehicles under national security grounds would cost American consumers $45 billion annually, or $5,800 per vehicle. 

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a group representing General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp, Volkswagen AG and other major automakers, will file written comments with the U.S. Commerce Department later this week, spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist said. 

“Nationwide, this tariff would hit American consumers with a tax of nearly $45 billion, based on 2017 auto sales. This would largely cancel out the benefits of the tax cuts,” Bergquist said, previewing the comments. Consumers would also face higher costs of imported auto parts when buying vehicles from both U.S. and foreign automakers, she said.

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