President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016, in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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President-elect Donald Trump is doubling down on his attempts to force American companies to bring their manufacturing plants back to the country, and he hasn't been shy about his intention to penalize companies who do not comply with his wishes.
Thursday afternoon, Trump tweeted about Toyota Motor Company's plans to build a new plant in Mexico, and insisted they would need to change their plans or face a tax penalty.
He wrote, "Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax."
Toyota Motor said will build a new plant in Baja, Mexico, to build Corolla cars for U.S. NO WAY! Build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2017
It marks the second time this week that Trump has tweeted about a border tax. He wrote on Tuesday, "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!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
When Toyota announced their plan to increase manufacturing bases in 2015, they stated that the planned Mexico location would take the place of a factory in Canada, not in the U.S. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said on Thursday that the automobile company has no immediate plans to change the location of their factories, but added that he wants to work and he will be watching Trump's decisions very closely.
"Toyota has been part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. for nearly 60 years. Production volume or employment in the U.S. will not decrease as a result of our new plant in Guanajuato, Mexico announced in April 2015," the statement read. "Toyota looks forward to collaborating with the Trump Administration to serve in the best interests of consumers and the automotive industry."
The statement comes after Ford Motor Company announced they were scrapping plans to build a factory in Mexico and instead investing $700 million more into their Michigan location. Trump responded by tweeting, "Thank you to Ford for scrapping a new plant in Mexico and creating 700 new jobs in the U.S. This is just the beginning - much more to follow."
Thank you to Ford for scrapping a new plant in Mexico and creating 700 new jobs in the U.S. This is just the beginning - much more to follow
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
Ultimately, any tariff imposed on foreign goods would have to be passed by Congress, where significant resistance to the imposition of tariffs or the renegotiation of trade deals remains. Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) flatly ruled out the possibility of raising tariffs, saying, "We're not going to be raising tariffs" on the Hugh Hewitt show. The issue, which Trump seems inclined to press for the moment, could provide the first conflict between the incoming president-elect and Republican Congressional leadership, which is almost universally dedicated to free trade.
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Sara Gonzales is the host of “The News & Why It Matters.”