Canada’s trade minister previous week met senior officials from General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in Detroit, as Ottawa takes its lobbying effort straight to the Big Three automakers to avert possible U.S. auto tariffs.
The Liberal government is depending on industry partners to push Canada’s cause in the White House and others, using their influence to secure Canadian interests, sources with direct details of the discussions informed Reuters.
Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne also visited a Ford Motor plant located in Windsor, Canada last week as part of his campaign.
The auto industry, Canada’s biggest exporter, accounts for 500,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributes C$80 billion ($60.1 billion) annually to the economy.
“Instead of us galloping across the United States talking to everybody, it’s really focused right now on the automobile manufacturers, the automobile suppliers,” stated one source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
The Canadian message was “now is the time to speak up, now is the time to exercise whatever impact you might be able to bring to bear,” added the source.
Champagne informed Reuters he had been reinforcing the message that the present system should be maintained.