This week, Ford CEO Mark Fields sat down with Bloomberg‘s Matt Miller to talk about the current state of things. Following a question about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who’s been notoriously harsh toward the automaker regarding its future manufacturing plans in Mexico, Fields and Miller got on the topic of free trade.
The takeaway: Ford Motor Company is in favor of free trade, but against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is a twelve-nation trade agreement pending ratification that has proven to be a highly-contentious issue in some circles.
For CEO Mark Fields, the prospect of currency manipulation in other countries is reason enough not to support the free-trade agreement. “We’re against TPP not because we’re against free trade; we’ve been free traders forever,” he told Miller. “But when you look at some of the countries like Japan… they have [manipulated currency] in the past, and we just want to make sure we’re competing on a level playing field.”
Incidentally, opposition toward the TPP might be one issue on which Mark Fields and Donald Trump actually agree; the presidential candidate has publicly decried the deal as being harmful to the US, even calling the agreement “insanity” late last year. Ford’s plans to expand production in Mexico is unrelated to the TPP, but Trump has previously said that if president, he would level a punitive, 35-percent tariff against Mexican-produced Ford parts and vehicles for not keeping that production in the US.
You can watch a clip from the interview on the Bloomberg website.