Port of Charleston (copy)

Most of the BMWs assembled in the South Carolina Upstate are exported the Port of Charleston's Columbus Street Terminal (above). File/Bloomberg

FRANKFURT, Germany — Automaker BMW says it will build more of its popular SUVs overseas to offset the higher cost of sending cars to China due to recently enacted tariffs.

BMW also said it will raise the price of South Carolina-built vehicles sold in China to help offset that country's new 40 percent import tax on cars from the U.S., retaliation for higher tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by President Donald Trump.

The dpa news agency reported that Munich-based BMW said Monday it is "not in a position to completely absorb the tariff increases."

BMW builds key SUV models in Spartanburg County, where it employs 10,000 people. Those vehicles are exported to 140 countries, making BMW the largest U.S. auto exporter. Most of the cars made in the Upstate are shipped overseas through the Port of Charleston's Columbus Street Terminal.

BMW and Chinese partner Brilliance Automotive Group Holdings signed an agreement Monday to expand their joint venture, the German automaker said in a news release. The deal will boost the number of cars produced annually at two facilities in China to 520,000 by 2019.

“Our agreement sets a long-term framework for our future in China — a future involving continued investment, further growth and a clear commitment to the development and production of electric vehicles,” BMW CEO Harald Krueger told Bloomberg.

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He has previously said the carmaker is considering delivering other Chinese-made cars outside of the country.

Trump has imposed tariffs to counter what he says are unfair trading practices that include Chinese requirements that U.S. firms transfer key technology as the price of doing business.

Editors Note: This story has been updated to reflect information from BMW's U.S. plant