Trump tells CEOs he wants more cars built in US

14 May, 2018, 06:49 | Author: Brooke Harris
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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt also attended the meeting. The people spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions.

The EPA is considering rescinding California's ability to set its own standards, which would set off a lengthy legal battle that auto companies want to avoid.

"The president will hear from the automaker CEOs about the impact of the rulemaking on the auto industry and their efforts to negotiate a "National Program" with the state of California", White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in a statement.

American automakers may be on a mission impossible when they visit the White House on Friday.

Trump told those attending that the country is importing many cars and the White House wants those vehicles to be made in the USA, adding they could be made in places such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and SC.

However, Trump added that NAFTA has been nothing more than a disgusting disaster for the USA, but automakers have said NAFTA has been a success.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, whose company is shifting production of Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks from Mexico to MI in 2020, told Reuters before the meeting his company is "fully supportive" of Trump's efforts to revise the mileage rules and hoped for "an agreed way forward".

Top executives of General Motors Co., Honda Motor Co., Ford Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and other companies came to discuss trade and environmental standards enacted by the Obama administration. Such a fight could bring two mileage standards in the USA, forcing automakers to engineer and produce two versions of each of their vehicle models, driving up costs.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president and the automakers discussed "how best to move forward" on the fuel economy standards.

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Trump granted automakers their wish in March 2017 while laying out an explicit quid pro quo: a promise to cut them a break on environmental regulations in exchange for more hiring in the U.S. Within days, two of the industry's major trade groups published a full-page newspaper advertisement thanking Trump for reinstating a review of the rules. Tom Carper, D-Del. Under the proposal, the fleet of new vehicles would have to average roughly 30 miles per gallon in real-world driving, and that wouldn't change through at least 2025.

She also argued that the draft proposal is legally tenuous because Pruitt's April ruling covered only the 2022-25 model year standards, whereas the proposal would eliminate the 2021 model year standard and extend 2020 model year standards for six years.

"The resulting regulatory nightmare would ultimately harm consumers by increasing vehicle costs and restricting consumer choice", Bainwol said.

Any big change by Trump certainly would bring lawsuits from environmental groups as well as California.

CEOs or top executives from 10 automakers, both US and foreign, met with the president for approximately one hour as the Department of Transportation considers untightening federal fuel efficiency as well as pollution standards that were implemented under former President Barack Obama. Leaks about the Trump EPA plan already have provoked a suit from California and 16 other states.

When the single national standard was adopted six years ago, cars, which get better mileage than trucks and SUVs, made up just under half of US new vehicle sales.

"These standards are working exactly as they were created to do - they are protecting our health and climate, driving innovation, saving Americans money at the gas pump, and reducing our reliance on oil".

Requirements now are lower for bigger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs, said Luke Tonachel, director of clean vehicles for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Trump administration plans to argue that freezing the rules would lead to cheaper vehicles, boost sales and employment and improve safety by prodding faster turnover of older vehicles.

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