DETROIT—Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is siding with automotive industry leaders in defending the North American Free Trade Agreement in the face of President Trump's continued threats to terminate the trade pact with Canada and Mexico.
Snyder said Jan. 15 at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit that NAFTA "should continue" and be modernized to reflect internet innovations and changes in the automotive workforce and supply chain since it took effect in 1994.
"We wouldn't want to see NAFTA collapse or go away," Snyder told reporters after touring the auto show floor. "I think that would be a negative for all three countries."
The governor's comments represent some of the most forceful he's made to date about what should happen to NAFTA as Trump has sought to fulfill a campaign pledge of getting a better deal for American auto workers.
The ongoing negotiations over NAFTA were an undercurrent in the opening media preview days of this year's Detroit auto show as executives at General Motors Co., FCA US L.L.C. and Ford Motor Co. defended the trade agreement and remained optimistic it will survive.
Last week, Trump made clear in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that he hasn't ruled out withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA, contending it could actually help the U.S. stock market.
"If we don't make the right deal, I will terminate NAFTA. OK?" Trump told the Journal.
The president's comments were made hours before FCA announced it will shift production of its next-generation Ram heavy-duty truck from Mexico to its Warren truck plant by 2020, potentially shielding the profit-generating truck from becoming entangled in new tariffs for Mexican imports should NAFTA be dissolved.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said Monday that the Trump administration needs to "retune" its demands in NAFTA negotiations with Canada and Mexico, Reuters reported.