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Oct 20, 2017

Linamar CEO plans to ‘forge ahead’ despite NAFTA uncertainty

Linda Hasenfratz on growing Linamar globally as NAFTA talks continue to create uncertainty

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Despite uncertainty surrounding ongoing NAFTA renegotiations, the CEO of Canada's second-largest auto part manufacturer says her company, and others, plan to “forge ahead.”

“I mean, sure there’s uncertainty as to where things are going to pan out,” Linda Hasenfratz, the CEO of Linamar, told BNN in an interview Friday. “But, in general, people are not allowing it to impact their decision-making — and I think that’s the right answer.”

Hasenfratz sits on a 13-member council that has been advising the Federal government during the NAFTA talks.

NAFTA partners were left feeling frustrated this past week, as the fourth round of talks ended in a stalemate. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said he was “surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change from our negotiating partners” as it was announced talks would extend into 2018.

“We’ve got to forge ahead,” Hasenfratz said. “We’re building a business, we’re growing our business … and we need to just keep focusing on that.”

“Until we see where the chips fall, I think it’s premature to start impacting decision-making for an outcome that you’re not sure about.”

While Hasenfratz isn’t letting the uncertainty around NAFTA get in the way of her company’s growth plan, she said it would be better for businesses if the negotiations were resolved quickly.

“I don’t like the uncertainty that lies over business in general as to where things are going,” she said.

“So to me, getting it done one way or the other, then at least everybody knows where things are going to pan out we can get on with business.”