BMW chief defends free trade and Mexican plant amid Trump threats

BMW Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger defended the importance of free trade and its Mexican plant during a conference in Germany, responding to President Donald Trump suggesting he’ll push for tariffs to protect American jobs.

“We need free world trade,” Krueger told the CAR-Symposium automotive congress in Bochum. “As a global company, we’re present on all important markets. That also means that we allocate automobile value-creation in a balanced way internationally. This safeguards continuity in volatile times.”

BMW said last month that it plans to finish construction of a new US$ 1 billion plant for its 3 series in Mexico undeterred by threats from the president that he will introduce heavy tariffs on cars imported into the U.S. from its southern neighbor.

Krueger pointed out that BMW’s U.S. plant, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is the German manufacturer’s largest worldwide. 

The factory produces the X3, X4, X5 and X6 crossovers. The plant is currently being expanded to add the new X7 crossover and to increase annual capacity to 450,000 from 400,000.

BMW exports 70 percent of annual production at the Spartanburg plant, making it the country’s biggest net-exporter, he said.

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