GM plant closures 'unacceptable': Trump

Washington (AFP) –


US President Donald Trump on Thursday warned General Motors it would not be "treated well" after its decision last month to cut 15 percent of its workforce and close Canadian and US plants.

Trump's renewed criticism pushed shares in the company lower on a day when Wall Street already was struggling to keep out of the red.

"I think it was nasty," Trump said on Fox News.

He argued that the recent revamp to the North American free trade pact meant GM would have difficulty shifting production to Mexico.

"It really makes it very uncomfortable for people to go out of the country and it will be very uncomfortable for them," he said.

Among other changes, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, requires that manufacturers produce a share of their vehicles in higher-wage factories in order to gain duty-free access to the region -- a requirement likely to favor US and Canadian facilities.

However, critics in notably Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, say it was Trump's massive corporate tax cut in late 2017 that created the incentives for corporations to shift production offshore.

Trump aimed his harshest words at GM CEO Mary Barra's plans to cut thousands of workers.

"But they tell me a couple weeks before Christmas that she's going to close in Ohio and Michigan -- not acceptable to me," he said.

"She's either going to open fast, or somebody else is going to go in, but General Motors is not going to be treated well."

But due to the healthy US job market workers were likely to find employment elsewhere, he said.

Trump also criticized GM's plans to develop battery-electric vehicles, saying "that's not going to work."