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Levin: Why Are American Automakers Running to Mexico?

By Michael Morris | January 5, 2017 | 3:55pm EST
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

On his nationally syndicated radio talk show Wednesday, host Mark Levin explained that American automakers are running to Mexico, in part because Mexico has cheaper labor, but more significantly because Mexico has access to more countries willing to trade tariff-free.

“‘Why is everybody running to Mexico?’ you may ask, and you may think you have the answer,” explained Mark Levin. “‘Well, because they pay their people next to nothing.’ That’s not the whole answer. It’s not even a significant part of the answer. ...

“‘[O]ne of [Mexico’s] key advantages is that it has’ – you ready?” Levin rhetorically asked moments later in response to the question posed above. “‘One of its key advantages is that it has trade agreements with 44 countries giving automakers access to half the global car market tariff-free.’”

Levin’s comments were in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s tweet that said, “General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!” Levin quotes in significant part from a piece by David Welch and Dave Merrill on Bloomberg.

Below are Levin’s comments from his show:

“‘Why Trump Tariffs on Mexican Cars Probably Won’t Stop Job Flight,’ I really want you to listen to this.

“‘President-elect Donald Trump says he wants automakers to build cars they sell in the U.S at home or pay a hefty tax.’

“And by the way, all of you folks employed in this country by BMW and Volvo, by FIAT, by Mercedes, by Audi and so forth – a significant percentage of the auto market – all of you who are employed by foreign manufacturers with their headquarters overseas, I want you to think about if those countries took the same position because you would be out of jobs.

“Talk about unions, all the dock workers out there, when I drive through Baltimore on the way to New Jersey or on the way to Philadelphia and so forth. Or go to Baltimore – they have a huge port there – where thousands and thousands of people work. They work on the freighters. They work on the loading docks. They work, you know, all around.

“I mean, these cars are imported into the United States, and people in the United States are employed around them. Nobody talks about them, but let’s go on.

“Trump says he wants automakers to build cars they sell in the U.S. at home or pay a hefty tax.

“‘[Yesterday] he criticized [GM] or building the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback in Mexico. And during the campaign, he called for a 35 percent tariff on autos produced south of the Rio Grande.’

“By the way, this isn’t just a challenge on Trump. It’s a challenge on Bernie Sanders. It’s a challenge on the AFL-CIO. It’s a challenge with all these people that hold the same position. This doesn’t make America great. This isn’t America first. This is destructive.

“‘After Trump criticized GM, Ford said it would scrap plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and build its Focus compact car at an existing facility there. Despite that, U.S. automakers Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler are planning to manufacture’ – listen to this – ‘almost 1 million more cars in Mexico by 2022, according to LMC Automotive, while building half a million fewer cars in the [United States].

“Now, why are they doing that? Because they hate America? Because all the people who run these companies hate America? All the people who invest in these companies hate America? Millions and millions of people hate America?

“How stupid is that?

“So what’s going on? Stick with me.

“‘They're not alone. Over the past five years, automakers have rushed to build factories in Mexico. The largest car companies have announced at least $22 billion in investments and about 25,000 jobs at new or expanded plants in Mexico by 2019. And that’s just the jobs that have been made public.’

“‘Why is everybody running to Mexico?’ you may ask, and you may think you have the answer. ‘Well, because they pay their people next to nothing.’ That’s not the whole answer. It’s not even a significant part of the answer.

“Stay with me.

“‘Cheaper labor is … one reason Mexico has seen a surge in new-car production. While the country’s low wages have been [a] big attraction, one of [Mexico’s] key advantages is that it has’ – you ready? ‘One of its key advantages is that it has trade agreements with 44 countries giving automakers access to half the global car market tariff-free.’

“You want to hear that again? We can handle this right?

“‘One of its key advantages [– that is, Mexico’s –] is that it has trade agreements with 44 countries giving automakers [– that is, people who build automobiles in Mexico – automakers] access to half the global … market tariff-free. The U.S. has similar trade deals with just 20 countries … .’ Mexico has these deals with 44 countries. These 20 countries ‘make up 9 percent of global car sales, according to the Center for Automotive Research … .’

“I have said before, and I want to reiterate this, there was a guy on Fox that said yesterday, ‘Build it here. Use it here. Sell it here.’ And I said, ‘Well then you are surrendering the world market not just to our competitors but to our enemies.’ You’re surrendering the world market to the Chinese. You’re surrendering it to the Mexicans. You’re surrendering it. You’re not a player anymore, let alone all the other problems because Americans actually want to buy stuff from overseas as well as here at home.

“Nobody’s putting a gun to anybody’s head saying, ‘You must buy from Japan.’ If people decide to do it, they do it.

“I’m explaining how stupid this is. We could be creating hundreds of thousands, millions of more jobs in this country, not just 800 here and 700 here with threats by a Presdient-elect because he’s trying to carry favor with specific unionized industries.

“This is not healthy for America. The opposite is healthy for America.

“The answer to Obama, the answer to centralized government socialism, endless regulations and taxes, isn’t just to cut taxes and regulations, which is crucial, but it is a complete change of policy. That is, America is open for business.”

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