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Hargrove: "NA Auto Industry on 'Death March', Action Must Be Taken"

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OTTAWA–North America's traditional automotive industry will effectively disappear within a decade if Ottawa doesn't put trade restrictions on imported vehicles, CAW president Buzz Hargrove says.

Hargrove delivered that stark message at a meeting yesterday with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Hargrove urged the federal government to bring in a reciprocal trade arrangement.

"I said to the Prime Minister that it wouldn't surprise me (that), within a decade, General Motors and Ford both would declare bankruptcy in North America," he told reporters after the meeting.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said Harper "appreciates the challenges" facing the auto industry.

Meanwhile, Martinrea International Inc. announced plans this week to close its major automotive-parts plant in Kitchener, formerly known as Budd Automotive, by the spring of 2010, with 1,200 jobs lost.

"We raised our concern about the lack of response by our government as we've gone from one of the most successful auto-producing nations in the world, and now we've moved down the ladder to No. 9, and almost daily we get another announcement of a closure," Hargrove said.

The long-time president of the Canadian Auto Workers said he explained to Harper that a combination of trade restrictions similar to the old North American Auto Pact and an automotive investment fund would go a long way toward breathing life into the moribund industry.

"We told him that, if he doesn't deal with the trade issue, then there is absolutely no way our industry can survive and ... that we should look at an auto pact type arrangement with Asia," Hargrove said.

"The auto pact, which was signed with the U.S. in 1965, recognized that we were not getting our fair share of production and jobs in Canada from the American producers, and now we have a similar problem with Japan and South Korea. Any agreement would have to ensure that trade is reciprocal: whatever they sell to us in dollar terms, they would have buy from us."

Hargrove said these foreign auto manufacturers flood North America with their vehicles – from offshore and from plants in Canada and the United States – and then buy virtually nothing in return.

Hargrove made a pitch to Harper to commit $30 million to reopen the Ford Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, a city that has been devastated by plant closings.

"We told him you can't delay those things ... and that on every opportunity that arises to say, `The federal government will partner with you under certain conditions.'"

http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/303051

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The flight of manufacturing jobs from Ontario, Michigan and other areas is truly frightening. Sadly, it will take double digit unemployment figures to convince anyone that the current economic model isn't working.

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and most people don't seem to think it matters.

Yep, as long as it's cheap and disposable, who cares?

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The flight of manufacturing jobs from Ontario, Michigan and other areas is truly frightening. Sadly, it will take double digit unemployment figures to convince anyone that the current economic model isn't working.

You're being overly optimistic. It will take high double digit figures.

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Buzz should save his breath because nobody gives a sh*t; least of all the politicians.

The domestic industry has no money so politicians couldn't care less. As for the consumer... I can't even keep a straight face when I think about how much they actually care.

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Hargrove is being a little dramatic. Perhaps Ford wil go bankrupt, but GM will simply languish for decades trying to get their book value from -$38 Billion to $0.

If GM is able to hire people at $14/hour, then shouldn't their production costs should be in-line with the imports? Why should Canadian tax dollars be spent fixing GM/Ford's incompetence?

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GM has invested very heavily in Canada, under the Beacon Project, including moving research, design and engineering facilities to Canada. What has Toyota/Honda done? Oh, that's right: tax breaks for opening in Woodstock.

On a related note, I was very keen on following the Democrats, but Obama made some very interesting comments about 'fair trade,' and I have to admit, I agree with him. I am an avid Free Trader, but there are gaping holes in NAFTA and WTO. He came dangerously close to blaming the Mexicans and NAFTA, but then he recovered himself. Truly, it is our constant hunger for cheap, imported goods that is slaying the manufacturing jobs in the U.S. - and Canada. Obama is correct in saying that labor laws should be brought under the auspices of NAFTA. It isn't doing future Mexican generations any favors by allowing our manufacturers to bypass environmental and labor laws by skipping over the border.

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As I've said before: GM and Ford laid off 2,400 people and Toyota hired 900. Great math.

"Would you like fries with that?" Practice.

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Hargrove is being a little dramatic. Perhaps Ford wil go bankrupt, but GM will simply languish for decades trying to get their book value from -$38 Billion to $0.

If GM is able to hire people at $14/hour, then shouldn't their production costs should be in-line with the imports? Why should Canadian tax dollars be spent fixing GM/Ford's incompetence?

i guess they shouldn't. it would be better spent giving big tax breaks to korean and japanese companies to build plants instead to hire temps for 23 months and 28 days before firing them.

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GM has invested very heavily in Canada, under the Beacon Project, including moving research, design and engineering facilities to Canada. What has Toyota/Honda done? Oh, that's right: tax breaks for opening in Woodstock.

GM got a fair bit of cash from the government to get the Beacon project going too

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Interesting to see what happens to the economy here in Ohio if the Lordstown plant (Cobalt plant) gets shut down. Not only do you lose the plant, you lose the supplier base and seconary economy as well.

Chris

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As I've said before: GM and Ford laid off 2,400 people and Toyota hired 900. Great math.

"Would you like fries with that?" Practice.

This is overly optomistic. The way the economy is headed, no one will be able to afford fast food.

Chris

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As I've said before: GM and Ford laid off 2,400 people and Toyota hired 900. Great math.

"Would you like fries with that?" Practice.

:rotflmao:

Welcome to north AMERICA!

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