Phil Cox
Phil Cox

Guidepost Strategies has signed up BMW of North America to work Washington about the negative impact that president Trump’s steel and auto tariffs will have on American job creation.

Founding partner Phil Cox, who was executive director of the Republican Governors Association and a board member of Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund, handles the BMW push.

BMW AG’s manufacturing facility in Spartanburg (SC), which opened in 1994, has the highest production volume of any of its worldwide factories. Seventy percent of the Spartanburg output is exported.

The company fears that Trump’s tariffs will result in retaliatory measures by China, Japan and South Korea to up the cost of BMW’s US exports. 

China, for instance, slapped a 40 percent tariff on US cars, triggering BMW to raise the price of its South Carolina-made X5s and X6s by four percent to seven percent.

“All of these factors would substantially increase the costs of exporting passenger cars to these markets from the United States and deteriorate the market access for BMW in these jurisdictions, potentially leading to strongly reduced export volumes and negative effects on investment and employment in the United States,” BMW said in a  letter to US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

The German automaker warned Ross that walling off the US from foreign competition will provide “less incentive for American companies to strive to raise their productivity and look for ways and means of producing ever better goods (and services) ever more cheaply.” 

The Commerce Dept. says BMW is America’s No. 1 highest value vehicle exporter.