GM’s Orion Township, Michigan assembly plant received a visit from President Obama today along with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to promote a new trade agreement. No big deal.
The new accord promotes free automotive trade between the two countries. On the Korean side, the country will immediately halve its tariffs on U.S.-made vehicles to 4%, and eventually phase out the duty completely over five years. On the flip side, America is allowed to uphold its current 2.5% tariff on cars imported from Korea for the next five years, and its steep 25% tax on all light trucks imported from Korea for eight years, where the U.S. will then begin to taper down the duty.
So, why the GM assembly plant instead of outside the White House? Because it’s a metaphor. See, some of you may have already known that the 2012 Chevy Sonic built in the plant could not have been made possible if it wasn’t for its development courtesy of GM Korea. It also wouldn’t have been made possible if the UAW had not flexed it wage structure, with most of the Orion Twp. plant consisting of second tier wage workers.
Despite it all, it’s going to be hard for General Motors to in fact export many vehicles to Korea. The problems is that there already happens to be GM plants in South Korea, and they’re very busy churning out Sparks,
Sonics Aveos, Cruzes (Cruzen?), Orlandos, Captivas and even all-new Malibus destined to be sold both domestically and globally. Currently, The General has been able to export Camaros and the Cadillac CTS, SRX and Escalade to South Korea, with plans on adding the Corvette by year’s end.