Autos

Trump says coronavirus outbreak is 'all under control' and a 'very small problem' in US

Key Points
  • Trump said Thursday U.S. officials have the coronavirus outbreak "all under control," adding that it's a "very small problem in this country."
  • Trump's comments came toward the end of a roughly 30-minute speech on the signing of a new North American trade deal.
  • He was visiting a manufacturing plant for auto supplier Dana in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.
US President Donald Trump speaks about the United States - Mexico - Canada agreement, known as USMCA, during a visit to Dana Incorporated, an auto supplier manufacturer, in Warren, Michigan, January 30, 2020.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said the U.S. government was working closely with China to contain the coronavirus outbreak that has killed at least 171 people, predicting "a very good ending" for the United States.

"We are working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it's going to have a very good ending for us, that I can assure you," Trump said Thursday while visiting a manufacturing plant for auto supplier Dana in Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.

Trump said U.S. officials believe "we have it all under control," adding that it's a "very small problem in this country."

Trump's comments come hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first human transmission of the virus in the U.S. The World Health Organization declared the fast-spreading outbreak a global health emergency earlier Thursday.

Trump's assurance on containing the coronavirus came toward the end of a roughly 30-minute speech in the battleground state, much of which he used to celebrate the signing on Wednesday of a new North American trade deal.

VIDEO2:2902:29
President Trump signs USMCA trade agreement into law

"The USMCA is an especially big win for American auto workers," he said at the facility, which makes parts for vehicles such as the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Super Duty pickups. "It's coming back. It's all coming back."

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which must still be ratified by Canada's parliament before it can take effect, would tighten rules on labor and automotive content on vehicles but has yet to cause a significant reversal of previous investments and jobs by automakers in recent decades in Mexico.

Trump said USMCA will add $23 billion in auto parts purchases annually and spur at least $34 billion in overall automotive investment. Without providing a time frame, he said the new trade deal will create at least 80,000 new auto jobs, "but probably about 120,000 new jobs."

Automakers such as General Motors and Ford Motor have supported modernizing the trade deal and have acknowledged the need for stability in North American trade rules.

GM, in a statement Wednesday, called the deal "vital to the success of the North American auto industry." Ford President of Automotive Joe Hinrichs, in a statement, said the pact "spurs innovation, cracks down on currency manipulation and supports U.S. manufacturing while ensuring the U.S. auto industry remains globally competitive." Hinrichs and GM CEO Mary Barra attended Trump's signing of the deal Wednesday outside the White House.

Trump, referring to the current North American Free Trade Agreement as a "nightmare" and "disaster," said the new USMCA will secure jobs in America and bring jobs back to the country that NAFTA allowed to be outsourced.

Trump on Thursday stayed away from commenting about the ongoing impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate other than calling it a "disgrace for our country."