U.S. President Donald Trump pushed the chief executives of General Motors Co, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Tuesday to increase production in the United States and boost American employment.
Trump opened a meeting with GM CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Mark Fields and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at the White House by saying he wants to see new auto plants built in the United States.
The new Republican president vowed to cut regulations and taxes to make it more attractive for businesses to operate in the United States. He promised frequently during his election campaign to be a job-creating president and stressed that message in his inaugural speech last Friday.
“We have a very big push on to have auto plants and other plants – many other plants,” he told reporters at the start of the meeting with auto executives. “It’s happening.”
The meeting was the latest sign of Trump’s uncommon degree of intervention for a U.S. president into corporate affairs as he has repeatedly pressured automakers and other manufacturers to “buy American and hire American.”
Marchionne told reporters after the meeting that Trump did not give them specifics on what regulations he would cut.
GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler have all announced recent new jobs and investments in the United States, but are still investing in Mexico. Fields said automakers wanted to work with Trump to create a “renaissance in American manufacturing.”
“We’re very encouraged by the president and the economic policies that he’s forwarding,” Fields told reporters, praising Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which Fields said did not address intervention in currency valuations by trading partners. “As an industry we’re excited about working together with the president,” he said.
Barra said there was a “huge opportunity” to work together with the government to “improve the environment, improve safety and improve the jobs creation.”
Trump has criticized automakers for building cars in Mexico and elsewhere and has threatened to impose 35 percent tariffs on imported vehicles.