GM CEO Mary Barra: Border tax could be ‘problematic’ – USA TODAY
WASHINGTON—General Motors CEO Mary Barra on Tuesday expressed reservations about President Trump’s proposed border tax, even as the nation’s largest automaker continues to back overall corporate tax reform.
Barra told the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. that the border adjusted tax “if not done very thoughtfully could be very problematic.”
The sentiment reflects the U.S. auto industry’s concerns that a border tax, paired with a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, could damage a business model predicated on the tariff-free flow of products across borders. The auto industry’s suppliers often ship parts across borders multiple times before they are eventually assembled in completed vehicles.
Still, Barra, who serves on a panel of CEO advisers to the president, said the company is “in support of corporate tax reform.”
She described her early impression of the Trump administration as “action-oriented.”
Barra, known in the auto industry for rarely deviating from preplanned corporate messaging, generally stuck to the script during an on-stage interview with private equity executive David Rubenstein.
She also talked about a:
•French alliance. The automaker continues to negotiate a potential deal with French automotive brand Peugeot’s parent company, PSA Group, for GM’s European division. But she gave no details about the status of the talks.
“We are exploring other opportunities to see if we can work together,” she said.
•Distracted driving. She blamed distraction as “a big piece” of the recent increase in U.S. roadway deaths, which topped 35,000 in 2015.
“We all have to take responsibility and address it,” she said.
•Self-driving cars. Look for them to enter the marketplace first through ride-hailing platforms, such as Uber and Lyft.
GM is testing self-driving versions of its new electric car, the Chevrolet Bolt, in San Francisco and Michigan.
“We’re seeing progress on almost a weekly basis,” she said.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.