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Toyota fires at Trump: We ‘are not a national security threat.’

Ivanka Trump joins Toyota presidents, Matt Bevin on signing ‘Pledge to American Workers’

Ivanka Trump, advisor to the President of the United States, joined Toyota Motor North America, Inc. CEO Jim Lentz, Georgetown manufacturing plant president Susan Elkington, and governor Matt Bevin in signing the 'Pledge to American Workers.'
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Ivanka Trump, advisor to the President of the United States, joined Toyota Motor North America, Inc. CEO Jim Lentz, Georgetown manufacturing plant president Susan Elkington, and governor Matt Bevin in signing the 'Pledge to American Workers.'

Toyota issued a strongly-worded statement aimed at President Donald Trump on Friday, saying his proclamation on foreign automobile parts and vehicle imports is “a major set-back for American consumers, workers and the auto industry.”

A proclamation issued by the White House Friday said national security is being threatened by auto imports.

Toyota responded that “our operations and employees contribute significantly to the American way of life, the U.S. economy and are not a national security threat.”

The Japanese automaker pointed out that it has a 60-year history in the United States and directly and indirectly employs more than 475,000 people at its 10 manufacturing plants, 1,500 dealers and other operations. The Georgetown plant is the company’s largest in the world, employing more than 8,000 people.

Toyota said it has invested more than “$60 billion in this country, including over $1 billion in philanthropic and community-outreach efforts.”

“Today’s proclamation sends a message to Toyota that our investments are not welcomed, and the contributions from each of our employees across America are not valued,” Toyota said.

Friday’s proclamation was intended “to protect the American automobile industry, its workforce, and American innovation,” the White House said in a statement.

It follows a Commerce Department report that suggested that the American automobile industry’s research and development is “critical to national security,” according to the proclamation. “The rapid application of commercial breakthroughs in automobile technology is necessary for the United States to retain competitive military advantage and meet new defense requirements.”

The proclamation authorizes the president’s trade representative and other officials to negotiate agreements “to address the threatened impairment of the national security with respect to imported automobiles and certain automobile parts from the European Union, Japan, and any other country the Trade Representative deems appropriate.”

The White House statement said that “if agreements are not reached within 180 days, the President will determine whether and what further action needs to be taken.”

The president has previously threatened tariffs of up to 25 percent on foreign auto parts and imported cars.

“History has shown that limiting import vehicles and parts is counterproductive in creating jobs, stimulating the economy and influencing consumer buying habits,” Toyota countered. “...If import quotas are imposed, the biggest losers will be consumers who will pay more and have fewer vehicle choices.

“We remain hopeful that the upcoming negotiations on trade can be resolved quickly and yield what is best for the American consumer, workers and the auto industry. “

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