GM importing is not a new thing

What's the big deal?

In two years, GM plans to sell cars produced in China right here, in America. The vehicles mostly likely to be imported from China would be the kind of small vehicles that GM won't be able to build profitably here -- even after the restructuring.

And after the restructuring, GM also plans to import more vehicles assembled in Korea and Mexico ... but fewer made in Canada.

According to some critics, such as the UAW, that's using U.S. tax dollars to export American jobs.

Not so fast.

You see, for decades GM has sold big numbers of imported cars in the United States, thanks to the 1965 U.S. Canada Auto Pact and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

For example, in 2006, before everything hit the fan, GM sold 4 million cars and trucks here. Of those, 23 percent --- nearly 1 million units --- were built outside the United States, according to data from Jato Dynamics. That included 618,912 from Canada and 214,096 from Mexico.

Five years from now, GM figures to sell more than 3 million vehicles in America. In 2014, GM forecasts that it will import 51,500 from China, 501,000 from Mexico, 157,000 from Korea and 330,600 from Canada.

So, is the glass one third empty or two thirds full?

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