Car Industry Sees 'Lose-Lose' Outcome in Trump NAFTA Changes

First Up 10/12/17

Trump Says Open to Bilateral Canada, Mexico Pacts if NAFTA Talks Fail
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was open to bilateral trade pacts with either Canada or Mexico if a three-way deal cannot be reached to substantially revise the North American Free Trade Agreement. According to Reuters, asked by a reporter if he could envision maintaining free trade with Canada if NAFTA talks sour with Mexico, Trump said: “Oh sure, absolutely. It’s possible we won’t be able to reach a deal with one or the other, but in the meantime we’ll make a deal with one.” Trump added that a “very creative” deal was still possible to benefit all three countries. Trump’s comments came at a White House meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was in Washington to promote NAFTA’s benefits as a new round of renegotiations began near Washington. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday accused Trump’s administration of trying to sabotage the talks with “poison pill proposals,” including demands for more favorable treatment for the U.S. side on car production, and a “sunset clause” to force regular negotiations. Read more here

Car Industry Sees 'Lose-Lose' Outcome in Trump NAFTA Changes
According to The Washington Post, the auto sector is sounding alarms on the Trump administration’s efforts to overhaul NAFTA, with North America’s top parts supplier warning an expected push to increase content requirements in cars could result in a “lose-lose” situation. Changes to rules of origin – which govern what share of a car must be sourced from NAFTA countries for the vehicle to receive the trade pact’s benefits – will add both complexity and costs, said Don Walker, chief executive officer of Magna International Inc. “If the regional content is by specific country, I think it adds a lot of complexity, and then every country would probably want regional content,” Walker said. “If you have U.S. content, and Canadian content, and Mexican content, the reporting and the bureaucracy and the tracking becomes so complicated – and costly, quite frankly.” For more on how the auto industry would be negatively impacted by changes to NAFTA, click here

Nissan Names New Chief Information Officer
Nissan Motor Co. is getting a new chief information officer to oversee the Japanese carmaker's digital and information technology, reports Automotive News. Anthony Thomas will join Nissan as corporate vice president and CIO in charge of Global IS/IT Nissan as of Oct. 23. Nissan tapped Thomas from GE Global, a branch of GE Digital that handles a range of services that help companies harness big data and the Internet. In his new role, Thomas will run a wide range of programs, including management of digital service venders and cyber security, the automaker said in a statement Thursday. Nissan is among the carmakers tackling cloud computing and the internet of things to develop new revenue streams from connected cars and better coordinate its far-flung global operations. Read more about Nissan’s new chief information officer here

California Moves Toward Public Access for Self-Driving Cars
California regulators took an important step Wednesday to clear the road for everyday people to get self-driving cars, reports The Detroit Free Press. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles published proposed rules that would govern the technology within California, where for several years manufacturers have been testing hundreds of prototypes on roads and highways. That testing requires a trained safety driver behind the wheel, just in case the onboard computers and sensors fail. Though companies are not ready to unleash the technology for regular drivers — most say it remains a few years away — the nation’s largest state expects to have a final regulatory framework in place by June. That framework, which could be tweaked in coming weeks, also would let companies begin testing prototypes with neither a steering wheel nor pedals — and indeed nobody at all inside. The public is unlikely to get that advanced version of the technology until several years after the deployment of cars that look and feel more like traditional, human-controlled vehicles. Read more about California’s move toward self-driving cars here.  

GM to Idle Detroit Car Factory Amid Slow Demand
General Motors Co. plans to close a Detroit factory through the end of the year and deepen production cuts to slow-selling cars the plant manufactures, idling some workers and letting go others around the holiday season in response to weak sales. According to The Wall Street Journal, GM will temporarily close its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant for about six weeks starting in mid-November, said people familiar with the plan. The move will lay off roughly 1,500 workers who help build four low-demand models at the plant. The nation’s largest automaker also plans to scale back the factory’s assembly line to produce roughly 20 percent fewer vehicles once the plant resumes operations, costing about 200 workers their jobs, the people said. The expected move comes after GM already laid off several hundred employees at the Detroit-Hamtramck factory earlier this year by eliminating the evening work shift. For more on GM’s production layoff, click here

Don't Let Your Business Go Up in Smoke
Every year, fires costs business owners billions of dollars—and that number doesn’t even begin to measure the impact fires have on the business itself and the families of employees who are injured or killed by the blaze. Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14, 2017, is a great reminder that preventing workplace fires is not something to be done yearly, monthly, or even weekly—it should be a daily activity. Investigations reveal that most business fires can be prevented if workers consistently pay attention to a few, very specific hazards. To help you and your employees make it home safely each day, your Federated Insurance team is excited to provide a customizable fire prevention checklist you can use to review your business’s fire prevention techniques. Made available to all association members through our partnership with Federated, the checklist helps you identify and implement high priority fire prevention practices that can significantly impact your business. It’s designed to also allow businesses to add checkpoints for the unique risks and exposures they face. Go to federatedinsurance.com to access the sample checklist and view a video that shows the reality of business fires and discusses the need to make fire safety everyone’s responsibility.

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