Expert: China Not Security Threat to U.S. Automakers

U.S. automakers are targeting China, the world’s largest car market. And an expert says, despite President Trump painting China as an economic security risk, Detroit’s car companies don’t need to worry.

Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

An expert on China says President Trump’s speech this week on national security overstates the economic threat posed by that country and underestimates the financial benefits it provides to Michigan, in particular.

Both the state of Michigan and Detroit automakers have tried to make significant inroads into China, the world’s largest car market.

The U.S. has a roughly $300 billion trade deficit with China.

President Trump called the country a security threat, accusing China of trying to erode American prosperity.


“Those GM (vehicles) that are sold in China, they have a lot of American content. Yay! But they are ultimately assembled in China.” – Brookings Institute Senior Fellow David Dollar


But the Brookings Institute’s David Dollar, who was involved in negotiations with China as part of the World Bank and U.S. Treasury Department, disagrees.

He says Chinese tariffs on vehicles made by Detroit’s Big Three pose an obstacle.

Jake Neher/WDET

But not, he says, a threat.

“Those GM’s that are sold in China, they have a lot of American content. Yay! But they are ultimately assembled in China,” Dollar says. “So I think it’s a good example of the challenges that we face. How do we get a more level playing field (while) recognizing that we are getting a lot of benefits right now.”

Dollar says there is always the potential that China could steal U.S. technology.

But he says he believes that is not a problem for Detroit automakers.

He points to vehicles made in China that he says are improving in quality but still not up to the standards of car companies in the U.S.  


Click on the audio link above to hear the full interview with David Dollar


  • Quinn Klinefelter
    Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.