Greenville native speaks on tariffs in D.C.

Published 3:06 pm Friday, August 3, 2018

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Among the many foreign dignitaries and CEOs of large American automotive companies to speak in Washington about tariffs on global trade was Greenville native John Hall.

Hall works as a maintenance team member for Hyundai in the Hope Hull plant. On Thursday, July 19, he was invited to speak to a panel representing the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. on behalf of Hyundai

Hall spoke to the panel before noon on July 19 about the economic development that has been spurred along by Hyundai in the South-Central Alabama area and how global tariffs would harm the industry.

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“It was quite an experience to say the least,” he said. “I was honored to be invited by Hyundai to speak on behalf of the company. I’ve been with Hyundai since 2005. I’m a pretty big cheer leader for the company, so I was happy to speak when asked.”

Hall spoke after Joseph T. Boyle, senior director of business and sales for LG and before Yong-Guen Kim, the president and CEO of the Korean Automobile Manufacturers Association.

“It was such a humbling experience to speak along with these leaders of large companies and representatives from other countries,” Hall explained. “It’s pretty crazy when you look on the list of speakers and see all these people with important titles beside their names. Then there’s me, maintenance team member.”

The U.S Department of Commerce conducted an investigation on the effect of imports of steel on national security. The report was published on Jan. 11, 2018. In the report, it was suggested that a 24 percent tariff on steel coming from South Korea, along with 11 countries, should be levied.

In a portion of Hall’s speech, he talked about the relationship between America and South Korea.

“Korea and the United States share a strong strategic alliance,” he said. “We fought a war together, and that created a bond that goes back more than 60 years.”

He also spoke about investments Hyundai has made in Alabama.

“Hyundai’s investments in Alabama are not limited to vehicle manufacturing,” he said. “Hyundai makes 700,000 engines a year in Alabama. All of these parts are made by American workers. Hyundai also partners with American companies to create innovative technologies and make other contributions to U.S. economic development by supporting education and charitable causes.”

Hall concluded with some of the possible effects a 25 percent tariff would have on Alabama.

“This tariff would raise production costs at our Alabama factory by 10 percent annually,” he said. “This would force us to raise prices and cut production. A lot of Alabamians – my friends and neighbors – would lose their jobs.”

Hall’s entire speech can be viewed at by searching “Public Hearing on Section 232 National Security Investigations of Imports of Autos and Auto Parts.” Hall begins speaking at 2:48:00.