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May 11, 2017

Linamar’s Hasenfratz says key to successful NAFTA talks is to keep ‘focusing on the facts’

Linamar posts Q1 earnings beat amid trade tensions

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The CEO of Canada's second-largest auto part manufacturer says she's confident facts will win in the end when it comes to the NAFTA renegotiations.

Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz told BNN that although she has no doubts there will be tweaks to NAFTA, any big changes targeting North America's auto industry would have too much of a negative economic impact and U.S. President Donald Trump will likely realize that.

"The prospect to try to add cost and complexity to [the auto industry] would be so negative to such a large population of workers and companies that it really doesn't make sense to do," she said in an interview Thursday.

Linamar posted a 21.8-per-cent increase in quarterly profit Wednesday and is expecting further growth despite rising trade tensions.

Hasenfratz said she believes Trump, who has recently attacked Canada's dairy industry and slapped on tariffs to Canadian lumber, is a "business man and is used to make fact-based decisions."

She was part of a group of female executives who met with Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this year to discuss challenges women face in business, which kicked off the binational United States-Canada Council for the Advancement of Women Business Leaders-Female Entrepreneurs.

"I think if we just keep focusing on the facts and making sure that that information is in front of both administrations, then we can try and ensure that we have something that comes together that's going to benefit us,” she said.

Hasenfratz also said governments should be aiming for further collaboration instead of more protectionism, particularly as the auto industry continues its push towards further innovation.

"We can do that together, she said. “If we start adding costs, we're just going to put ourselves behind the rest of the world and we don't want to do that."

The Trump Administration