DETROIT – A revised North American free trade agreement would not make sense if Canada, Joe Hinrichs, president of Global Motor Co., president of Global Operations, was excluded, said Monday.
Hinrichs, speaking at a lunch for the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, said he was optimistic that all three countries in NAFTA could agree, despite the news at the end of last week that talks between the US and Canada had come to a standstill.
The US and Mexico reached a bilateral agreement last month and President Donald Trump threatened to put the plug in the water and move on without Canada.
"It's very important that Canada is a part of it," Hinrichs said. "I can not imagine a future of the North American car industry where Canada is separated, we are too much integrated into too many problems."
The parties disagree about a handful of problems. Canada is looking for a kind of guarantee that, if a deal is reached, it will not be affected by the car tariffs that threaten Trump.
The latest discussions were also pivotal about dispute panels intended for the treatment of anti-dumping and countervailing duties. The US wants to destroy the panels, which are laid down in chapter 19 of the current NAFTA, while Canada wants to keep them in one form or another.
The countries are also discussing one of the most important negotiating chips of Canada, dairy concessions, which have made farmers in the country angry.
"It is fair to say the challenges [U.S. and Canada] at the moment it is not necessarily around the autobusiness, "said Hinrichs. We do not want the car company to be the unfortunate victim of other problems. "
Ford is building a number of vehicles in Canada, including the Ford Edge, Flex and GT, and the Lincoln Nautilus and MKT.
Hinrichs refused to say how the company's business would be affected if there was no deal, saying that he is optimistic that one will be ready.
"It is the rational, logical thing to do for the automotive industry," he said.
Talks this week can be crucial. The parties want to sign an agreement before the President-elect of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, takes office on 1 December. In order to do this, they would have to publish a deal by 30 September and they would therefore have to reach an agreement in the short term. time to include it in the legal text.
The countries could also extend the talks after 30 September.
"I'm worried that we do not have time and there will be other consequences," Hinrichs said. "But we continue to tell everyone that it is certainly our expectation that there will be a modernization of NAFTA with all three countries involved."
Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report.