12 April 2017

Michigan League Ballroom 911 North University Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48104
9:00 AM EDT

The Many Automotive Truths of NAFTA

University of Michigan

Transportation Research Institute

Automotive Futures Group

The Many Automotive Truths of NAFTA

Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM (EDT)
Michigan League Ballroom 911 North University Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48104

WEBSITE LINK:  http://tinyurl.com/lpdlwcj

In the 1990’s the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was designed to allow companies to reap the benefits of new global trade, opening up markets to import and export products without tariffs. The long term goal aimed at creating markets for goods for all the countries in the trade pact. In the automotive industry, manufacturers had already moved some production from the US to Canada and Mexico prior to NAFTA in order to take advantage of lower costs, despite any imposed tariffs. NAFTA made it easier and more profitable for both automotive manufacturers and suppliers to more aggressively move the production of vehicles and components to lower wage/lower taxed countries. They created intricate supply chains that moved components across all three countries, leveraging skills and costs to take advantage of what free trade offered. At the same time automotive companies were interweaving automotive trade among the three NAFTA countries they were also expanding their supply chains across the globe. So assessing the effects of NAFTA must also control for the unprecedented growth of global trade outside of NAFTA.

This conference will provide a forum for speakers (and our audience) to discuss NAFTA from a variety of perspectives, with speakers representing the views of Canada, the US, and Mexico. We will have speakers who specialize in the automotive industry and trade provide their insight into what NAFTA has provided for the US, Canada, and Mexico, and what how each of the countries has benefited or been hurt by the trade pact. We will also talk about NAFTA within the context of the extensive globalized efforts of the automotive industry. Each group affected by NAFTA has its own “truth” about its effects, and we hope to offer our audience an inclusive view of what NAFTA has meant to the auto industry over the past 20 years and what it may provide in the near future.

Some of the key questions we will address include: What are the different strategies manufacturers and suppliers have developed to take advantage of NAFTA? What are the particular parts of NAFTA that provide the greatest dislocation of jobs? What are the possible repercussions on the automotive industry of the imposition of trade tariffs? Are there ways of adjusting NAFTA to adjust for job dislocation without imposing tariffs? How have the Canadians been affected by the automotive components of NAFTA? What have been the most difficult adjustments each country has had to make to automotive NAFTA? What adjustments to the current agreement could be made that would negate any of the negative effects of NAFTA for the auto industry? How close Is the Mexican economy to taking off and providing a stronger market for US made vehicles?

Confirmed speakers include:

Bruce Belzowski, Managing Director, Automotive Futures, UM Transportation Research Institute, will moderate the conference and provide a NAFTA overview.

Harley Shaiken, Professor at the University of California, Berkeley will bring his expertise in Mexico, labor, and globalization to discuss NAFTA from the Mexico perspective as well as US labor issues.

  1. Mustafa Mohatarem, Chief Economist, General Motors Corporation who has experienced all 20 years of NAFTA will discuss its history and potential future from a U.S. manufacturer’s perspective.

Douglas George, Cousul General of Canada in Detroit will provide a Canadian perspective on how Canada has been affected by the automotive aspects of NAFTA.

David Andrea, Executive Vice President of Research at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, will discuss his group’s recent report on the effects of potential tariffs on US labor and vehicle costs.

Sergio Ornelas, Editor, MexicoNow will talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the Mexican auto industry and how it has prospered under NAFTA and the challenges it may face with the introduction of tariffs.

Other manufacturers, suppliers, government representatives, and consultants have been invited

Conference Sponsorship

Companies or groups interested in sponsoring this conference, please contact Bruce Belzowski at bbl@umich.edu or 734-936-2704. Sponsorship Amount (Minimum $2,500)

NAFTA Automotive Conference Sponsors

  • Argonne National Labs
  • BorgWarner Inc.
  • Bosch Corporation
  • Denso Corporation
  • FCA Corporation
  • Ford Motor Company
  • GlobalAutoIndustry.com
  • Green Traffic Management
  • ITS America
  • Oracle Corporation
  • UAW-Ford
  • Valeo North America, Inc.
  • University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

Upcoming Events

  • July 19, 2017: Powertrain Strategies for the 21st Century: Our 9th annual conference that focuses on major issues related to the future powertrains. This conference is also the place to see the results of our annual Powertrain Strategies for the 21st Century expert survey that estimates powertrain technology penetration for 2020 and 2025.
  • September 13, 2017: The Future of Automotive IT: Driving Organizations, Vehicle Development, and Connected/Autonomous Vehicles. Our 9th annual conference focused on the Future of Automotive IT shows the different sides of automotive IT and how it continues to change automotive organizations and vehicles.
  • November 8, 2017: Inside China: Understanding China’s Current and Future Automotive Industry. Our 10th annual Inside China conference has traced the rapid rise of the Chinese auto industry. The largest automotive market in the world is such a unique market that it demands that we continue to examine both its current and future trends from a variety of perspectives: consumer choice, marketing, product development, government support and regulations, alternative energy, automotive research and development, industry structure, labor, economic impact, and manufacturing.

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