Ford Motor Co. finally confirmed rumors that the Dearborn-based automaker will hire more Mexicans to staff a $1.6 billion expansion of its factory in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Ford announced that the new Mexican facility will start producing vehicles as soon as 2018 and will create up to 2,800 jobs by 2020 in the Mexican state. It is said Ford plans to build 500,000 vehicles in the new factory, doubling the number of vehicles produced south of the border.
Donald Trump immediately slammed the company.
“This transaction is an absolute disgrace. Our dishonest politicians and the special interests that control them are laughing in the face of all American citizens … When I am president, we will strongly enforce trade rules against unfair foreign subsidies, and impose countervailing duties to prevent egregious instances of outsourcing,” he said in a statement. The United States should revise the NAFTA free-trade deal with Mexico “to create a fair deal for American workers,” he said.
The news comes only a few months after insiders began to leak to the press that Ford would join several other large auto-manufacturers in starting or enlarging manufacturing capacity in Mexico.
The newly announced $1.6 billion investment is on top of the $2.5 billion Ford had already earmarked for improvements to its Mexican facilities.
Ford joins rival General Motors, which is investing $5 billion in Mexico, as well as foreign car-makers BMW AG, Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motors.
The auto industry isn’t alone in shutting down U.S. facilities and opening or enlarging facilities in Mexico.
Earlier this year Mondelez bakeries, which makes Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers, and Cadbury chocolates, announced yet another round of layoffs at its Chicago bakery in conjunction with a move to enlarge its bakery lines in Mexico.
Mondelez has already shut down several lines in its Chicago plant and moved several hundred jobs to Mexico.
Several heating and air conditioning companies in Indiana also recently announced the shuttering of U.S. plants in order to move to Mexico. Carrier Air Conditioning announced it was shutting down its facilities in Indianapolis, while UTEC said it was moving to Mexico after shuttering its Huntington, Indiana plant.
All these moves and more have come after President Obama began pushing his Trans Pacific Partnership trade plan, one of the largest multinational trade agreements in history. Often derided as “Obamatrade,” TPP has taken criticism from a variety of political sectors, no less so than from GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Trump has been unequivocal on TPP. He is against it.
In February, for instance, Trump called the plan “a terrible deal” for the United States because it is a jobs killer.
“It’s going to allow countries to continue to take advantage of us and take our jobs, take our trade,” Trump said. “It’s bad for us. It’ll allow China to come in through the back door at a later date and continue to really do a number on us, and it doesn’t take into account money manipulation — manipulation or devaluation of currency, which is the single biggest tool that countries use against us,” he said. “It’s a terrible deal.”
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