Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz says her auto parts manufacturing company is paying close attention to the U.S. presidential candidates’ stance on trade, particularly when it comes to the heavily-debated North American Free Trade Agreement.
“I think NAFTA has been an enormous benefit to all three countries, the U.S. included,” Hasenfratz told BNN in an interview, noting Linamar does business in each of them. “Obviously it would be a concern if there were a closure of borders in terms of trade barriers.”
Republican nominee Donald Trump has threatened to renegotiate the deal or withdraw the U.S. completely if he becomes president, while Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has made no pledges to alter the agreement.
Regardless of who wins next week’s election, Hasenfratz argued free trade is important for Canada to remain competitive globally.
“I think the last thing we need to do as a continent is add cost and add trade barriers to our ability to compete on a global basis,” she said. “So I hope calmer heads rule when the election is over and the successful candidate is thinking about how to approach trade.”
Hasenfratz also said CETA, the recent trade deal between Canada and the European Union, is a positive development and will give Canada a competitive edge over the U.S., which does not have a free trade agreement with the EU.
Linamar released its third-quarter earnings Wednesday posting a 13.7 per cent increase in operating revenue and a 14.3 per cent increase in sales.