Big American automakers ask Trump to stick with NAFTA

By Elliot Bullman

Most automakers have production and supply chains distributed throughout the three countries.

Fiat Chrysler, Ford and GM are calling on US President Donald Trump not to ditch the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and have expressed hopes that the US, Canada and Mexico can reach a modernized and improved trade agreement.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne, who announced last week his plans to move production of vans from Mexico to the state of Michigan by 2020, said he expects the Trump government to "refine" some of his business demands.

The Republican leader has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA, which is widely used by automakers that have production and supply chains distributed throughout the three countries.

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Marchionne, at a press conference at the Detroit Auto Show, said the change in FCA truck production in part "goes beyond responding to some of President Trump's concerns about shifting production capacity outside the United States."

Ford Motor CEO Jim Hackett told reporters on Sunday that NAFTA needs to "be modernized," adding that of Detroit's three largest automakers, Ford has the highest percentage of vehicles made in the United States.

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"We have a great commitment to our country and the figures show," he said. Unlike General Motors and FCA, Ford does not build trucks in Mexico.

GM executive president Mary Barra expressed optimism on Saturday that NAFTA will survive with improvements. Other senior GM executives backed the company's plans to continue building trucks in Mexico.

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