WASHINGTON/DETROIT -- President Donald Trump met Tuesday with the CEOs of the Detroit 3 automakers as he looks to persuade car manufacturers to keep production within the country.
"We have a very big push on to have auto plants and other plants -- many other plants," Trump told reporters at the meeting. "It's happening."
Before the meeting, he tweeted: “I want new plants to be built here for cars sold here!”
The heads of Ford Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and General Motors attended the meeting at the White House. The meeting presents Detroit’s automakers with a key opportunity to weigh in on major issues the administration plans to tackle in its earliest days, including trade, regulatory and tax reforms.
“He looks forward to hearing their ideas, on how we can work together to bring more jobs back to this industry in particular,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said.
Trump told the CEOs that environmental regulations are "out of control" and promised he would remove obstacles for manufacturers and oil companies. The president reiterated his desire to reduce regulations, which may indicate a willingness to scale back federal fuel-economy demands.
“I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist,” Trump told the auto executives. “I believe in it. But, it’s out of control.”
Automakers in recent weeks have urged the Trump administration to rethink aggressive fuel efficiency mandates.
Tuesday's gathering was the first time the CEOs of the big three automakers have met jointly with a U.S. president since a 2011 session with Barack Obama to tout a deal to nearly double fuel efficiency standards by 2025.
Ford CEO Mark Fields discussed corporate tax reform, the need for “data-driven regulations” and trade policy initiatives that address foreign currency manipulation, Ford spokeswoman Christin Baker said. GM CEO Mary Barra and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne also attended.
Marchionne told reporters after the meeting that Trump did not give them specifics on what regulations he would cut.
GM, Ford and FCA have all announced recent new jobs and investments in the U.S., but are still investing in Mexico. Fields said automakers wanted to work with Trump to create a "renaissance in American manufacturing."
"We're very encouraged by the president and the economic policies that he's forwarding," Fields told reporters, praising Trump's decision to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which Fields said did not address intervention in currency valuations by trading partners. "As an industry we're excited about working together with the president," he said.
Barra said there was a "huge opportunity" to work together with the government to "improve the environment, improve safety and improve the jobs creation."
Trump met Monday with prominent American manufacturers including Fields and Elon Musk, the head of Tesla Motors Inc., and said he would dramatically cut regulations and corporate taxes. But Trump said manufacturers would face tough penalties if they move production outside the country.