Donald Trump stopped short of wreaking total havoc on the U.S. economy Friday by pressing snooze for at least six months on imposing another round of tariffs—this time on auto and car part imports from the European Union and Japan. But that didn’t stop Trump from foreshadowing the fate awaiting any region of the U.S. that has built an economy around foreign auto manufacturing plants that produce cars and auto parts right here in the U.S.
“The European Union treats us worse than China,” Trump told a gathering of the National Association of Realtors, as if it was relevant to them. “They send Mercedes-Benzes here like they’re cookies.”
Anyone in Alabama who does anything related to the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa may want to start paying attention to the absolute beating American farmers have taken since Trump began his trade war with China. Living paycheck to paycheck, bankruptcies, maybe a bail out check or two to buy back your vote—that’s all headed your way courtesy of Trump’s trade whims. More than 3,700 Alabamans are employed at the Tuscaloosa Mercedes plant.
Just last month, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was bragging about all the new economic investments that made 2018 a banner year for her state. Among the growth areas:
Alabama’s auto industry recorded an especially strong year for growth, highlighted by the Mazda-Toyota partnership’s decision to locate a coveted joint assembly plant in Huntsville. The project represents a $1.6 billion investment and the creation of 4,000 direct jobs.
In addition, Mercedes-Benz launched construction on a battery assembly plant in Bibb County that will create 325 jobs and facilitate production of Alabama-built electric vehicles. Hyundai and Honda also announced expansion projects in 2018, while several suppliers selected Alabama locations for their growth plans.
Did we mention that Trump has his eye on slapping auto tariffs on Japan too, along with the EU?