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In Blow To Trump, GE Voices Support For Mexico And Backs NAFTA, In A Blow To Trump

In Blow To Trump, GE Voices Support For Mexico  And Backs NAFTA, In A Blow To Trump
The company is "very supportive" of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that U.S President Donald Trump has threatened to ditch, said General Electric (GE.N) on Friday as the company praised Mexico as a big part of its future in the same comment.
Mexico as an investment destination had great potential and was not properly understood, GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt said on a visit to the country. The trade deal binding Mexico, Canada and the United States and the conglomerate's Mexican operations were touted by him.
"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. Because now since Mexico has agreed, the trade accord could be modernized, he said.
As Mexico and Canada push U.S. business leaders to defend NAFTA, Mexico has targeted for lobbying with a Trump-appointed manufacturing council of which Immelt is a member.
Trade meant "win-win" opportunities across North America, the GE boss said.
"We will continue to work constructively in the context of wanting to see a close relationship between the U.S. and Mexico," he said. $3 billion was the value of the total exports of the company to the rest of the world from Mexico, he also noted.
"We're optimistic about Mexico, we're optimistic about what we can do here," Immelt added, saying Latin America's no. 2 economy would be a "big part" of GE's future.
Calling on the Trump administration to level the playing field for U.S. companies with tax reform, revived export financing and improved trade agreements, Immelt urged it to avoid protectionist policies earlier this month.
Trump has railed against U.S. companies moving operations to Mexico and he has been staunchly following his "Buy American" policy. If he is unable to rework it to secure better terms for the United States, he has threatened to ditch NAFTA, a lynchpin of the Mexican economy.
Even by risking broadsides from Trump on Twitter, GE has not backed off plans in Mexico unlike some U.S. companies.
GE had stated an interest in doubling purchases from Mexican suppliers next year, the Mexican presidency said in a statement earlier. Immelt did not mention this.
The figure did not mean GE aimed to double purchases between this year and 2018 and it came from an announcement last year, said Vladimiro de la Mora, CEO for Mexico for GE.
It had secured a separate $120 million, multi-year service deal and won a contract to provide plants producing two new gigawatts of power in Mexico, GE said on Thursday.
It was "likely" the value of the total investment in the power plants would exceed $500 million and GE could not yet reveal details of the 2 GW deal, De la Mora said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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