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Justin Trudeau meets with auto parts sector over NAFTA

Justin Trudeau meets with auto parts sector over NAFTA

Claire Brownell | The Financial Post

February 27, 2017 5:18 PM ET

With a possible renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement looming, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sat down to reassure representatives from the auto industry on Monday.

Trudeau and foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland visited the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association’s Toronto office for a closed-door meeting with business leaders.  Earlier this month, the Prime Minister met with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has promised to renegotiate NAFTA on terms more favourable to the U.S.
“This is obviously an issue that matters to you. It matters to us and it matters to all Canadians – how we can ensure a good trading relationship with the United States,” Trudeau said, just before the closed portion of the meeting. “You all are extremely important drivers of jobs, innovation and opportunities.”

Don Walker, chief executive of auto parts manufacturer Magna International Inc., said he was glad to see the federal government being “proactive” regarding potential changes to NAFTA.  “Within the industry, we spend a lot of time trying to coordinate what we think would be the best outcome for all of NAFTA,” Walker said. “It’s nice to see someone in government acknowledge and interact with industry to really understand what we think needs to be done.”

NAFTA is vitally important to the North American automotive industry, which is highly integrated. An average auto part in North America crosses a NAFTA border seven times in the process of manufacturing a finished vehicle for sale.

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