Manufacturers meet in Windsor to discuss impact of tariffs
The economy in Windsor-Essex has been booming, but manufacturers are concerned over the trade war between Canada and the United States.
That concern was quite evident at a meeting of more than 250 business stakeholders at the Ciociaro Club in Windsor on Wednesday
“It’s really tough because it just keeps changing every day,” said Jonathon Azzopardi, the chair of the Canadian Association of Mold Makers. “We need a long term plan.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has already imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, and has threatened a 25 per cent tariff on Canadian automobiles.
Flavio Volpe, the president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, said if the United States imposes an auto tariff, the impact will be significant.
“It will end up being $17 billion in tariffs collected,” said Volpe, who added U.S. dealers will no longer purchase Canadian vehicles since the tariff will cut their profit margins.
“We're all going to grind to a halt on both sides of the border, that’s Ontario and seven U.S. states,” said Volpe. “I've been very clear from the outset, what we're courting here is a major recession.”
The trade issue also garnered attention at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.
Windsor West New Democrat MPP Lisa Gretzky stood in the Ontario legislature and accused the new Conservative government of not having an auto strategy.
“Are the Conservatives still content to let the auto sector die?” asked Gretzky.
But Finance Minister Vic Fedeli responded by saying Trade Minister Jim Wilson was in Washington to advocate for Canadian jobs.
Azzopardi tells CTV Windsor they also need a long term strategy from the federal government.
“We need some type of contingency for what we're dealing with today, but we need a long term plan for auto and a manufacturing strategy so when these types of things are happening, we're prepared."
Finkl Steel regional sales manager Bobby Tremblay was one of the guest speakers at Wednesday’s meeting in Windsor. He said their facilities in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are already feeling the impact of tariffs.
“We have to rely on ourselves to be sure that it's produced within the country it will be served,” said Tremblay.
The Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation says it will help local companies navigate the $2-billion federal fund to help steel producers.
Azzopardi also announced at Wednesday’s meeting that NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will be in Windsor on Sunday to listen to concerns about the trade war with the U.S.