Following a few tense days between President-elect Donald Trump and both Ford and General Motors, Jerry Dias, president of Canadian union Unifor, has spoken out regarding Trump’s stance on the auto industry.
While it remains to be seen if Trump’s tweets have any teeth, Dias did tell The Toronto Star it’s good to talk tough with the U.S. automakers.
“Trump, as crazy as he is, is showing governments can play a role” in helping to strengthen the auto sector to save or even create jobs, said Dias, whose union represents 23,000 Canadian employees of GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler.
Throughout the campaign, Trump consistently targeted Mexico production, despite Canada being the United States’ largest trade partner. Canada plays a massive role in auto production, assembling and shipping vehicles to the United States from Ford, GM and FCA.
For now, though, Dias doesn’t think Canada is in Trump’s crosshairs.
“He’s throwing grenades everywhere right now, and it’s working for him. But his ire is not at Canada, it’s at Mexico,” he said.
Dias went on to support the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which many feel no longer works in today’s economic climate. The UAW has also shown support for a renegotiated agreement.
However, analysts still warn of imposing tariffs and border taxes on any goods coming back into the United States.
“It comes down to two words: Not good,” said the president of DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.
“We’re already in serious trouble in the auto sector on the manufacturing side. Tariffs sound good on paper, but they increase prices for consumers,” which prevents them from buying, he said.