Canada’s battered manufacturing sector faces increasing tweet-risk from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, says Tom Caldwell, Chairman, Caldwell Securities. “We still don’t know what Mr. Trump is going to do that can be damaging here – our automobile sector is not sacrosanct in American eyes,” he told BNN in an interview.
Caldwell’s comment come as Trump has attacked two automakers for plans to move manufacturing jobs out the U.S. Earlier today, Trump threatened to impose taxes on Toyota if the Japanese company made good on plans to produce their Corolla model in Mexico.
Toyota produces the Corolla in plants in Mississippi and Cambridge, Ontario. In April, 2015, Toyota announced plans to spend about US$1 billion on an assembly plant in Mexico and move production of the Corolla from its Cambridge plant.
On Tuesday, Ford announced it was scrapping plans for a Mexican car factory and adding 700 jobs in Michigan following critical tweets from Trump.
Canadian automakers have not been singled out by Trump, but that could change quickly, says Caldwell. “We are definitely on the target list – make no mistake,” he said. “One of (Trump’s) spokesman said as far as the automobile trade goes – it’s still buy American – that’s the policy.”
Trump was highly critical of U.S. trade policy during the recent U.S. presidential political campaign and dubbed the North American Trade Deal (NAFTA) one of the worst deals ever signed.
Increased risk from Donald Trump is just one risk facing the struggling manufacturing sector in Ontario and Quebec – and Canadian political leaders appear to be unprepared to deal with the problem, he says. “I don’t understand where our brains are at,” he says. “We have really missed the boat in building (the manufacturing) sector and that will cause us problems in the future.”