United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams said yesterday that he is “prepared to sit down and talk” with President-elect Donald Trump about trade, and in particular, about the North American Free Trade Agreement. Renegotiating or repealing NAFTA was one of the key promises made by Mr. Trump on the campaign trail, and on that issue, the UAW shares common ground with the president-elect – even though the union officially endorsed Hillary Clinton.
“NAFTA is a problem. It is a huge problem to the American people,” UAW’s President said in Detroit this week.
NAFTA, first implemented under then-President Bill Clinton in 1994, has played a role in the decline in manufacturing jobs in the United States, with most of those jobs flowing into Mexico. “I think that companies ought to build where they sell,” Williams said. “I look at the amount of money that General Motors, and Ford, Toyota, Nissan and others are putting into Mexico… and the majority of their products are being sent back up here to be sold… That is jobs walking away from the American citizens, and our communities, and our states.”
Donald Trump’s election victory comes at an interesting time for Ford, which just this year announced plans for a new small-car production facility in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. That announcement, along with other plans made by the automaker to invest in Mexican production, made Ford a prime target for Mr. Trump, who iterated at several points during his bid for the oval office that he would impose a punitive 35% tariff on all Ford parts and vehicles imported to the US from Mexico.
UAW President Dennis Williams endorsed that Trump proposal, as well, even though the guidelines of the World Trade Organization – of which the US is one of 164 members – forbids punitive import duties on any single country.
(Source: Detroit Free Press)