About two weeks ago news surfaced about a potential meeting to be held in the White House between US administration representatives and the three general managers of BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen, regarding a potential trade tariff. While nobody officially confirmed the gathering, it looks like the meeting did happen at the beginning of the week, even though White House officials have been generally silent about it.
BMW however, was one of the first companies to issue a short statement, saying it was constructive, without getting into details. The press office issued this statement: “At a constructive working meeting with representatives of the U.S. administration, the BMW Group today took the opportunity to explain in detail the extent of its footprint in the USA. The mandate to talk about international trade politics rests solely with the relevant political institutions.”
That last phrase could be very important as, in the end, it is not BMW’s place to negotiate a deal between the EU and the US. However, this past weekend, world leaders gathered in Argentina for the G20 summit and apparently German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had a private conversation with US President, Donald Trump, and managed to get a postponement on the implementation of trade tariffs. This could offer the negotiators vital time to reach an agreement.
However, BMW did highlight the importance of its Spartanburg plant in the press statement issued yesterday, showing that since it was founded, some $9.3 billion was invested there, with some $600 million more planned for the future. Furthermore, the plant created 10,000 jobs on site and up to 70,000 direct and indirect jobs throughout the US. In 2017, the Spartanburg plant exported more than 70% of its total production volume of 371,316 units to more than 120 countries. China is the number one export destination followed by Germany. According to the US Department of Commerce, the BMW Group is the largest vehicle exporter from the US in terms of value.