Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz says Monday’s roundtable discussion with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump was “genuine” but that doesn’t mean Canada shouldn’t continue to be concerned when it comes to trade relations between the two countries.
Hasenfratz, who leads Canada’s second-largest manufacturing parts company, was among a number of women executives from the U.S. and Canada who met with Trump and Trudeau in Washington.
“I feel much better after the positive tone, but that doesn’t mean that we are going to stop worrying and making sure we are getting the very best situation negotiated and agreed to in both countries,” Hasenfratz told BNN in an interview Tuesday.
She said the message delivered by both leaders about working towards joint prosperity left her feeling more at ease than she did heading into the meeting.
“I take a lot of comfort in the fact that they talk about the importance of the relationship, the joint prosperity, the integrated approach of our supply chains between our countries – and specifically talk about free and fair trade,” Hasenfratz said. “I’m not as concerned about what tweaking mean[s] as I may have been before yesterday.”
Speaking specifically to the auto sector, Hasenfratz said any cross-border taxes would be problematic for companies. Although no imposition has yet been made, the Trump administration has discussed the idea of implementing a border adjustment tax as part of a larger reform plan to cut the U.S. corporate tax rate to 20 per cent from 35 per cent.
“No company can absorb the cost of that,” she said. “No company is going to relocate operations. It would take years, and it’s not realistic to do.”“We need to continue to get the facts in front of our leaders and make sure consequences are really understood of proposed changes.”