INTERVIEW: Japan Auto Parts Industry Official Slams New NAFTA

Politics

New York, July 1 (Jiji Press)--An official of the Japan Auto Parts Industries Association has slammed the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, or USMCA, which took effect on Wednesday, replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

The USMCA is "the worst-ever agreement," Tetsunori Kawashima, head of the association's North American office, said in a recent interview.

"It's nothing but a 'bad law' that includes place-of-origin and wage clauses designed for automobiles and auto parts to be manufactured in the United States," Kawashima argued. The deal could be "detrimental to consumers if a rise in production costs in North America is reflected in prices," he added.

Kawashima said that with the new rules finally set, makers are now able to consider their responses. He suggested, however, that most makers are unlikely to transfer production bases to the United States.

"Building an automobile supply chain is a huge project that extends over decades, whereas the U.S. presidential term is four years and the president's tenure is no longer than eight years even if re-elected," the Japanese industry official said.

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