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Volvo may cancel 4,000 worker job expansion in Trump-friendly South Carolina after being rocked with tariffs: report

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Foreign-based car manufacturers who have invested billions of dollars in new car plants in South Carolina and other southern states that were solidly in President Donald Trump’s camp are now having second thoughts about hiring due to new tariffs that could make the cars prohibitively expensive if they exported to Europe and China.

According to the Wall Street Journal, BMW, Daimler and China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding’s Volvo Cars have been making massive investments in production facilities with the intent of making more luxury automobiles in the U.S. that would then be sent overseas.  However, Trump’s imposition of new tariffs on Chinese goods — causing China to engage in a trade war by imposing their own 40 percent tariff on auto imports — has manufacturers considering scaling back production and, with that, not hiring new assembly line workers.

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The report states that “Volvo Cars also opened a new $1.1 billion plant near Charleston, S.C., last month to produce its S60 midsize sedan for North American markets,” with plans to begin production of a SUV model that they hoped to export to China.Under that scenario the company would go on a hiring binge, boosting current staff from 1,200 to 4000 workers. That plan is currently being questioned.

“Half of the 4,000 jobs will build cars for export,” Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said in a recent interview. “That could be jeopardized if something were to restrict trade.”

BMW, which has invested $8 billion in the plant in Spartanburg since 1992, is faced with the same 40 percent tariff on any vehicles shipped into China, which has rivals who manufacture outside of the U.S. excited about increased sales.

“This is a favorable situation for us because the products from manufacturers in the U.S. are becoming less competitive,” Lutz Meschke, the finance chief of German auto maker Porsche.

On top of that, Meschke boasted that prices for Porsche’s Macan and Cayenne SUVs could actually see a drop of as much as 7 percent in China, “while similar products from BMW and Mercedes-Benz could rise by as much as 15% in the wake of higher duties on their U.S.-built vehicles.”

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Adding to car makers woes are increased costs for parts, which some manufacturers build overseas and will also be subject to Trump’s tariffs, thus adding to the final cost of the vehicles.

According to the report, “Big auto makers have built global manufacturing and supply networks that depend on the free flow of goods across borders. These are now threatened by the trade dispute, which could force companies to cut back manufacturing for export and make more vehicles and components in the markets where they are sold.”

You can read the whole report here — subscription required

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Mitch McConnell’s impeachment rules pass by 53-47 vote — here’s what happens next in Trump’s senate trial

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The US Senate voted along party lines on Tuesday to set the rules for President Donald Trump's historic impeachment trial.

By a 53 to 47 vote, the Republican-controlled Senate approved an "organizing resolution" for the trial proposed by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Before approving the rules, the Senate voted down several amendments proposed by Democrats seeking to subpoena witnesses and documents from the White House and State Department.

These are the next phases in Trump's impeachment trial, just the third of a president in US history:

- Opening arguments -

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Chief Justice Roberts admonishes lawyers at Senate impeachment trial

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Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts made his first major intervention in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.

After House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) finished his closing arguments on why former National Security Advisor John Bolton should testify, the White House team went on the attack. Yelling and demanding apologies, the president's team was more animated than they'd been all night. Roberts then admonished the House and White House on their language.

Claiming the Senate is the "world's greatest deliberative body" -- despite what he had witnessed during 12 hours of the impeachment trial -- Roberts complained about language that was "not conducive to civil discourse."

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White House lawyers begin yelling at Democrats during late-night impeachment trial — after Trump starts tweeting

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President Donald Trump woke up and began tweeting around midnight EST during the Senate impeachment trial over the amendments over the rules. That's when a noticeable thing changed on the Senate floor: Trump's team started yelling.

Nearing 1 a.m. EST Tuesday morning while the president was tweeting about impeachment, his team began attacking Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) personally. They called him a liar and accused him of attacking the president and demanded an apology. After nearly 12 hours this was the first time the White House got even remotely animated after a dull defense of the president.

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