GE backs Nafta, supports Mexico

MEXICO: General Electric on Friday praised Mexico as a big part of its future and said the company is “very supportive” of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) that US President Donald Trump has threatened to ditch.
GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt said on a visit that Mexico had great potential and was not properly understood.
He touted the conglomerate’s Mexican operations and the trade deal binding Mexico, Canada and the United States.
“GE as a company, we’re very supportive of Nafta,” Immelt told employees at an event to mark the expansion of operations in the northern city of Monterrey.
He said the trade accord could be modernized, as Mexico has argued.
Immelt sits on a Trump-appointed manufacturing council that Mexico has targeted for lobbying as Mexico and Canada push US business leaders to defend Nafta.
The GE boss said trade meant “win-win” opportunities across North America.
“We will continue to work constructively in the context of wanting to see a close relationship between the US and Mexico,” he said, noting that GE’s exports to the rest of the world from Mexico were worth $3 billion.
“We’re optimistic about Mexico, we’re optimistic about what we can do here,” Immelt added, saying Latin America’s number 2 economy would be a “big part” of GE’s future.
Earlier this month, Immelt urged the Trump administration to avoid protectionist policies, calling on it to level the playing field for US companies with tax reform, revived export financing and improved trade agreements.
Trump touts a “Buy American” policy and has railed against US companies moving operations to Mexico.
He has threatened to ditch Nafta, a lynchpin of the Mexican economy, if he cannot rework it to secure better terms for the United States.
Unlike some US companies, GE has not backed off plans in Mexico, risking broadsides from Trump on Twitter.
Earlier, the Mexican presidency said that GE had stated an interest in doubling purchases from Mexican suppliers next year.— Reuters