BMW CEO says trade war could cost U.S. jobs

FILE PHOTO - Oliver Zipse, chairman of the Management Board of BMW Group, meets with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 18, 2019. Yukie Nishizawa/Pool via REUTERS

STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - BMW BMWG.DE has told United States trade representatives, including Robert Lighthizer, that intensifying a global trade war could threaten jobs in South Carolina, Chief Executive Oliver Zipse said on Friday.

An imposition of trade barriers would hamper the ability of BMW’s largest car factory, based in Spartanburg, South Carolina to export around 70% of its produce across the globe, the German executive said.

“If they do this, then we are all losers,” Zipse said of his discussions, speaking at an automotive conference in Stuttgart on Friday. “I have the impression they are listening carefully. The export model sustains many jobs in the United States.”

The Spartanburg plant has not had to reduce production capacity so far but any additional barriers to global trade could change that, he said.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Janet Lawrence