Ghosn sees more investment in U.S. following new NAFTA deal

PARIS — Nissan Motor Co. will increase investments in the U.S. “without a doubt” following the renegotiation of NAFTA with Canada and Mexico, said Carlos Ghosn, head of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.

“It will have an impact, but frankly we are very happy to have an agreement,” Ghosn said Tuesday on the sidelines of the Paris auto show. “No agreement would have had a much more devastating impact on our operations in North America.”

The United States, Canada and Mexico reached a deal on Sunday to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, which was ratified in 1993 and became law on Jan. 1, 1994. The new deal must be ratified by legislators in all three countries.

President Donald Trump had made renegotiating NAFTA a cornerstone of his election campaign, saying that the treaty left American manufacturers at a disadvantage. The president hailed the new trade pact, which would be known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, on Monday as a victory for U.S. workers and a validation of his hardball trade tactics.

The replacement for NAFTA would raise the threshold for regional content in autos crossing North American borders duty-free and add stricter labor standards in the auto manufacturing, including a minimum wage of $16 an hour for some products.

Nissan has three factories in Mexico: one in Cuernavaca and two in Aguascalientes. One of the plants in Aguascalientes is a joint venture between the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance and Daimler that started producing the Infiniti QX50 crossover on a Daimler platform last year.

“We’re going to have to fine-tune our supply chain and make some changes in the organization” of Nissan’s North American activities, Ghosn said. “In my opinion there will be more investments in the U.S., without any doubt.”

“That doesn’t mean we’re going to stop investing in Mexico,” he added, noting that Nissan exported cars from Mexico to the U.S., Europe and elsewhere in Latin America.

Ghosn said recent trade disputes, including the imposition of tariffs on European metals that have affected automakers including Ford Motor Co., the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the tit-for-tat U.S.-China tariffs, do not signal the death of globalization.

“Most people are for open and fair trade,” he said. “There is some retuning and reshuffling taking place.

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