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Canadian supply chain unaffected by Trudeau’s coronavirus border closure

March 16, 2020, Automotive News Canada

The Canadian automotive supply chain is unaffected by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement Monday that Canada is closing its border to most non-Canadian citizens, according to the head of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.

“The situation is fluid, and we’re all ready to respond to the science,” APMA President Flavio Volpe told Automotive News Canada after Trudeau’s afternoon press conference.

In the federal government’s latest move to attempt slowing the spreading coronavirus, Trudeau said non-Canadians would no longer be accepted into Canada, with exceptions for permanent residents, immediate family members of Canadian citizens, diplomats, flight crews and citizens of the United States. As well, Canada would restrict international air travel to just four airports nationwide, and anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 would not be allowed into the country, he said.

Crucially for the auto industry, Trudeau said the new measures do not apply to cargo or goods, allowing trade to continue even as he urged Canadians to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus.

It was the latest in a series of moves by the Canadian government to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 179,000 people globally and killed more than 7,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. According to a count by CBC News, there are more than 400 confirmed, suspected or resolved cases of the virus in Canada, including four deaths.

Monday afternoon, U.S. President Donald Trump said his administration is not yet considering closing either the northern or southern border.

Volpe said that while the virus’ spread in Canada and around the world had yet to have a major impact on Canadian suppliers, that could soon change, especially as demand for new vehicles falls as people stay home.

“We’re all monitoring. It all trickles down from the consumer market, and there’s an expectation that the consumer market is going to soften here,” he said. “We’ll have to respond to that, like a lot of our suppliers have had to do in China and Europe.”

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