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Trump Administration Begins Process of Renegotiating NAFTA

Talks will begin in August.

by on May.19, 2017

The Big Three automakers would like NAFTA to remain status quo; however, the Trump Administration is renegotiating the deal this summer.

The Trump Administration has begun the formal process required to open the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement this coming summer.

President Trump notified Congress this week of his intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. The talks with Canada and Mexico will begin “no earlier than August 16, 2017,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a letter to Congress.

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During the 90-day countdown, USTR will consult with “Congress and American stakeholders to create an agreement that advances the interests of America’s workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses,” he said. (more…)

Automakers Hail Trump Tax Cut Pitch – But Question His Overall Results After 100 Days

A "C" for effort?

by on Apr.27, 2017

President Donald Trump gave himself an A for how he handled policy decisions earlier, but what grade is the auto industry giving him?

With the three domestic automakers each reporting first-quarter earnings this week, President Donald Trump’s tax cut proposal – which would see the top corporate rate drop by more than half, to 15% – clearly resonates in the Motor City.

General Motors said in a statement that it was “encouraged” by efforts to “modernize our tax code,” while crosstown rival Ford saw the White House announcement as “a positive step towards much needed tax reform.”

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It’s not the first time industry leaders have hailed a Trump Administration move, automakers giving thumbs up when the president ordered the EPA to reopen the midterm review of federal mileage standards. But the president has also been harshly faulted on a number of issues, notably a proposed import tax and the threatened elimination of the North American Free Trade Agreement. (more…)

Trump Backs Off Assault on NAFTA

Under pressure from auto industry, Trump no longer plans to kill trade agreement.

by on Apr.27, 2017

President Donald Trump is discovering that getting a new version of NAFTA negotiated will be more difficult than simply signing an executive order.

Despite tangling with both Canada and Mexico in recent weeks, President Donald Trump appears to again be shifting direction over the North American Free Trade Agreement, the White House late Wednesday indicating it will no longer seek to eliminate NAFTA but rather find ways to make it more favorable to the U.S.

That shift may not play well with Trump loyalists who have roundly opposed free trade agreements and, in particular, sought a wall and tariffs to seal off Mexico. But it is receiving a warmer welcome in the business world, especially the auto industry, where North American borders have become completely porous in recent decades, raising the specter of major problems for manufacturers who routinely move parts and vehicles back-and-forth between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

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“As the biggest export sector, U.S. auto companies need trade policies that open markets, while ensuring a level playing field in the markets to which we export. The integrated North American market is important to our global competitiveness,” American Automotive Policy Council said in a statement. (more…)

Trump’s Border Tax Plan Headed for Oblivion

Economist suggests it would have caused a trade war.

by on Apr.13, 2017

Pressure from the CEOs of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler may have helped derail President Trump's border tax plans.

The chances that the Trump administration will be able to impose a border tax on imports into the United States appears to be declining and pressure from the auto industry may have played a significant role.

Early in his presidency, Trump indicated that he viewed the border tax as tool for rebuilding the manufacturing base in the United States, which was one of, if not the central promise he made repeatedly during the contentious 2016 Presidential campaign.

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However, chances of the Trump administration triggering a trade war with the border tax appear to have diminished. (more…)

Trump Continues to Threaten Foreign Automakers

President tells crowd that there will be "consequences."

by on Mar.20, 2017

President Donald Trump continues to threaten foreign automakers, including German companies, with a border tax.

President Donald Trump continues to make veiled threats against Germany’s automakers, which are among the most successful in the world, apparently as part of a key tactic in negotiating new and more advantageous trade agreements with European countries.

“Germany has done very well in its trade deals with the U.S., and I give them credit for it,” Trump told a White House press conference. “Virtually any country we do business with — it’s not exactly good for our workers.”

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“The U.S. has been treated unfairly and that’s going to stop,” he told reporters at the White House. During a meeting with representatives of both foreign and domestic car makers in Detroit last week Trump urged them to build more vehicles in the U.S. (more…)

CARB, EPA on Track for Emission Showdown

Clash begins with reopening of EPA review.

by on Mar.17, 2017

New EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is considering eliminating California's special exemption to following federal emissions rules.

It appears that the State of California and the Trump Administration are on a collision course and the point of impact may be the oft-debated emissions rules that are now up for debate.

Led by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Golden State is moving ahead with more stringent car pollution rules for 2022-2025, which were approved by Obama administration just before the Trump camp took over in January.

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California regulators are expected to finalize the rules at a meeting next week. However, the federal rules are expected to be eased. Trump announced the review of the corporate average fuel economy standards as well as the emissions standards will be reopened, much to the delight of automakers. (more…)

Trump Reopens CAFE Review

Hailed by automakers, scorned by environmentalists, announcement may have little practical impact on auto industry plans.

by on Mar.15, 2017

“My administration will work tirelessly to eliminate the industry-killing regulations,” Trump said in Detroit.

Declaring his goal of making Detroit “the car capital of the world again,” Pres. Donald Trump came to the Motor City on Wednesday bearing what could be a major gift for the domestic carmakers – but one that quickly raised concerns among environmentalists.

The business-cum-politician said he was ordering the EPA to reopen a mid-term review of Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards that would require the industry to deliver a fleet average of at least 54.5 mpg by 2025. Many – though not all – manufacturers have warned they cannot meet that target without raising vehicle prices beyond what consumers could afford, something Ford CEO Mark Fields in January told the president could cost 1 million automotive jobs.

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The announcement that the government would review both the mileage target and timing was actually less of a radical development than many had expected, some industry observers questioning whether the new administration might slash the numbers immediately or, perhaps, repeal CAFE entirely as part of Trump’s promise to reduce government regulations. (more…)

Trump Signs Off on Review of CAFE Standards

While most makers cheer, Nissan-Renault, Honda offer indifference to move.

by on Mar.15, 2017

President Donald Trump acceded to the wishes of U.S. automakers, agreeing to re-open the review of looming CAFE standards for 2025.

As a first step to rolling back federal fuel economy standards, which are set to reach 54.4 miles per gallon by 2025, the Trump administration has agreed to re-open the review of the standards laid out by the Obama administration in January.

The review was immediately hailed by the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, which includes the BMW Group, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group of America and Volvo Car USA with Honda and Nissan-Renault being the notable exceptions.

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“We applaud the Administration’s decision to reinstate the data-driven review of the 2022-2025 standards. By restarting this review, analysis rather than politics will produce a final decision consistent with the process we all agreed to under ‘One National Program’ for GHG and fuel economy standards,” the Alliance said in statement. (more…)

Trump Coming to Detroit Bearing Regulatory Gifts

President likely to announce plans to rollback fuel-economy standards.

by on Mar.14, 2017

President Donald Trump, center, met with the CEOs of Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler to discuss a variety of issues, including fuel economy rules.

President Donald Trump is expected to visit the Detroit area Wednesday and is expected to come bearing gifts for the Motor City’s automakers in the form of lower fuel-economy standards.

The move comes as automakers have been lobbying the new administration to roll back the tougher corporate average fuel economy standards set down by Obama administration just prior to Trump’s inauguration in January.

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The plan has not been confirmed officially by the Trump White House. However, the President and his selection to head the Environmental Protection, Scott Pruitt, have zeroed in fuel-economy regulations, saying they need to be revised. (more…)

Mexico Trade Chief Says NAFTA Redo Must Benefit All

Ildefonso Guajardo spoke to the Detroit Economic Club.

by on Mar.06, 2017

Mexico's top trade official Ildefonso Guajardo told the Detroit Economic Club that any renegotiation of NAFTA must benefit all the parties.

The North American Free Trade Agreement should be revised, but only if all three signatories to the treaty benefit, Mexico’s top trade negotiator said in a speech in Detroit.

Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, told the Detroit Economic Club that NAFTA is 23 years old and said revisions could benefit Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S. However, he rejected the notion that the revisions should only help the U.S. as President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested in comments on NAFTA.

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“It is not very wise to sit down with the skewed view there has been only one winner. We were all winners,” he said.  (more…)