Automakers Unify to Urge Trump to Keep NAFTA

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
automakers unify to urge trump to keep nafta

Domestic automakers and suppliers have already expressed concerns that leaving the North American Free Trade Agreement could be detrimental to the industry. Numerous automotive trade groups have claimed that losing NAFTA would result in less efficient and more costly ways of doing business.

Hoping to steer Donald Trump away from the idea of abandoning the three-country accord, manufacturers, parts suppliers, and dealers have come together to form the “Driving American Jobs” coalition. The group’s primary goal is to prove that NAFTA has been beneficial to the participating countries, especially the United States. It also makes the claim that withdrawing from NAFTA would re-establish trade barriers, hurt the U.S. economy and cost jobs.

“We need you to tell your elected officials that you don’t change the game in the middle of a comeback. We’re winning with NAFTA,” urges the group’s website.

It’s pathos, pure and simple, is but not without supporting facts. For example, the collation makes mention that the United States produced one million more cars in 2016 than it did in 1993, the year before NAFTA took effect. It also cited $9.5 billion in new investments into the industry for 2017. However, much of the rhetoric used in Tuesday’s announcement dealt with a common theme — jobs.

The council includes members of the American Automotive Policy Council, The American International Automobile Dealers Association, The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of Global Automakers, and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association. All of them claim the trade agreement is essential for maintaining employment in the United States.

“America’s 1.1 million dealership employees rely on NAFTA to offer customers a wide selection of safe, affordable new cars and trucks,” said Cody Lusk, president of the American International Automobile Dealers Association. “It’s clear NAFTA is working for the towns and communities served at the 16,700 dealerships across America, and helping create more stable, skilled American jobs with each passing year.”

Trump has made American jobs the cornerstone of his campaign and has even gone so far to suggest leaving NAFTA would only help employment in the U.S. Detractors abound, however, and Driving American Jobs is among them. It wants to convince the public to rally around the accord and convince Congress to reform instead of rebuff.

“Our biggest concern is for American workers and customers,” said Jennifer Thomas, vice president of federal affairs at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “Pulling out of NAFTA would lead to a decrease in vehicle production, a decline in jobs and an increase in what our customers spend when buying a new vehicle. Not to mention this would also have an impact on our abilities to export vehicles to foreign markets.”

Driving American Jobs’ website really hits that point home by including a handful of personal accounts from people employed within the automotive sector that underscore just how good things have been with NAFTA. While these are clearly cherry picked to bolster support for its cause, they remain real-world examples of the trade agreement working.

There also exists a growing consensus among economists, with no ties to the coalition, that leaving the accord would be catastrophic. NAFTA is far from miraculous, and it definitely cost the U.S. some manufacturing jobs early on. But most experts have viewed it as important to the longterm survivability of the American automotive industry. Hoping to convince you to believe the same, Driving American Jobs urges individuals to contact the White House with news of your newfound advocacy.

“American automakers are driving the revival of American manufacturing,” said former governor and current president of the American Automotive Policy Council Matt Blunt.

“When you examine the data there’s no question that NAFTA has helped advance the global competitiveness of the U.S. auto industry sector. Now we have an opportunity to strengthen North America as a manufacturing powerhouse with a modern NAFTA that maintains the features that are working and makes improvements to benefit American workers and jobs. We look forward to working with the coalition, the Trump administration, members of Congress and all stakeholders to ensure American autos remain competitive in our global economy.”

[Image: Toyota]

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  • Jerome10 Jerome10 on Oct 26, 2017

    I will support the American auto industry, when they deserve it. But sorry I'm not gonna jump in here. They're against cheap labor, lax environmental standards, lax safety standards, and importing for no tariff? Shocker. Huge shocker. Tariffs to offset slave wages, pollution standards, and safety standards. Let's compete on a level playing field. So in this instance, the auto industry can go **** themselves.

    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Oct 26, 2017

      Jerome10, The Europeans said the same of the US in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Now you've "made it" why not allow others? Or are you going to adopt the European stance?

  • Ra_pro Ra_pro on Oct 26, 2017

    There is indisputable scientific evidence that overall, macro-economically speaking, trade is a win-win situation for a country. This is just a basic economic fact that has been established over the centuries. The whole world is overall a lot better off now than it was 50-100 years ago when trade was difficult and dangerous. This is a positive statistic that hides a serious downside to trade especially when practiced at this level which is essentially global nowadays. In manufacturing trade hurts high-wage countries, that is primarily developed countries, but is a boon to developing countries and if done properly and a on huge scale it can lift the biggest country in the world from virtually 19-th century poor agrarian fiefdom to an economic superpower in just a few decades 30-40 years. Industrial countries are not poorer than they were before China embarked on its industrialization but a lot of the citizens in these industrial countries are actually poorer. I remember in the eighties all economists basically believed that the disruption would only be temporary for the industrial workers in the west as they would just naturally migrate to available jobs that there is plenty of in the service sector. And indeed many of these workers did migrate to service jobs but not the good service jobs the bottom ones. It's simple to understand why this happened, the workers didn't have skills and more importantly many just couldn't upgrade their education and skills to the required skills such as those in IT. If all your life you worked manually, its very hard to become an office worker, well paid office worker, few people have the means to do such a radical change in their lives. This is the fallacy of the economic predictions that said that automotive working class will just switch to being IT professionals, designers, health-care workers and so on. Now we finally understand that this very idea is just ridiculous statistically speaking. Instead the solution that has been adopted in the west and especially in the US and Canada to fill the job vacancies for which domestic work force is not qualified by massive immigration into these countries. This immigration has been happening for 25-30 and is on a scale where each basically imports 1% or more of its population a year, almost all of it from Asia. My question is why do US and Canadian governments prefer to import foreign skilled workers instead of training their own. I am sure that at least in part, this is cheaper than managing your education system to make sure it produces workers with skills required by the business. In North America it doesn't seem like governments care very much whether the jobs are filled by imported foreigners while a lot of its own citizens end up living in poverty. This is completely different from Europe where governments mange the up-and-coming workforce in such a way that the jobs can be filled by its own citizens rather than by importing foreigners. Germany also needs to import workers but in contrast to NA they mostly need low-skill, low wage, they train their own software engineers.

    • See 1 previous
    • Ra_pro Ra_pro on Oct 27, 2017

      @Big Al from Oz I am not against immigration, I think all your points stand I am against immigration as a way to plug in huge workforce holes created by government neglect. I work in IT I see everyday how US and Canadian governments use easy immigration policies to cover their incompetence in managing the workforce.

  • Zerofoo I learned a long time ago to never buy a heavily modified vehicle. Far too many people lack the necessary mechanical engineering skills to know when they've screwed something up.
  • Zerofoo I was part of this industry during my college years. We built many, many cars for "street pharmacists" that sounded like this.Excessive car audio systems are kind of like 800 HP engines. Completely unnecessary, but a hell of a lot of fun.
  • DedBull In it to win it!
  • Wolfwagen IIRC I remember reading somewhere that the Porsche Cayenne was supposed to have a small gasoline-powered block heater. There was a loop in the cooling system that ran to the heater and when the temperature got to a certain point (0°C)the vehicle's control unit would activate the heater. I dont know if this was a concept or if it ever made it into production.
  • Jeffro As I sit here this morning with my 2 day old TRD OFF ROAD 4RUNNER tucked safely away in the garage, my head spins with this weird desire to locate a 85 LTD equipped with the epic 😵‍💫2.3 and the FOUR ON THE FLOOR. THE HOLY GRAIL. Ying and yang baby!The search begins.