TORONTO — The CEO of Ford’s Canadian operations says risks posed by the Trans-Pacific Partnership to the automotive manufacturing sector are among topics she plans to raise in a meeting with federal government officials later this month.
Dianne Craig says the need to boost government subsidies to help attract more global investment in Canada’s auto sector will also be discussed.
Ontario, which relies heavily on the auto manufacturing sector, has been losing new investment to Mexico and the southern U.S., where labour costs are lower.
Ray Tanguay, a special automotive adviser to the federal and Ontario governments, has called for the federal automotive innovation fund to be restructured.
The fund offers loans to provide incentives for automotive investment, but Tanguay would like to see the money doled out as grants.
However, he has stopped short of calling for higher monetary incentives, noting it is up to federal and provincial officials to evaluate the economic benefits they reap from such incentives.
Craig agreed that the fund should be restructured, but added that the amounts of the subsidies should be boosted as well.
“Right now, the way the loans are treated by the Canadian government, they’re not competitive, because in other jurisdictions, they’re not taxable,” Craig said at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto on Thursday.
She also slammed the TPP, saying that the way the deal is structured will hurt Canadian auto manufacturing operations.
“We support free trade, but it has to be fair trade,” Craig said.
“We’ve got to get these trade agreements right, and right now as the TPP stands, there will be no positive outcome for Canadian manufacturing.”