‘Good news for Canadian workers’: Relief hails major US electric vehicle deal

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Canada’s auto sector breathes easier after an agreement with the United States to remove « buy American » provisions from an electric vehicle tax credit plan and extend them to all American-made vehicles North.

The federal and Ontario governments had been battling President Joe Biden’s administration’s protectionist push for more than a year, warning it threatened the existence of domestic automakers and suppliers in Canada, would jeopardize tens of thousands jobs and hurt American businesses. parts manufacturers as well.

“The new language is exactly what we lobbied a lot for,” Flavio Volpe, president of the Association of Automotive Parts Manufacturers, said Thursday after the breakthrough was announced in Washington.

« If the exact same car costs less because it’s made in the United States, no one would make it in Canadian factories, » he added in reference to proposed grants of up to $12,500 (US) per year. electric vehicle for US consumers.

The sea change came Wednesday night when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia – both Democrats – agreed to propose an amendment to the climate bill and Biden’s health expanding tax credits to North American production of electric vehicles.

Manchin had resisted the change, which is expected to face stiff opposition from Republicans, who will be wary of giving Democrats a legislative victory in midterm elections this fall.

Still, it’s « good news for Canadian workers, jobs and our manufacturing industry, » Federal Trade Minister Mary Ng said in a statement.

« Since the Prime Minister’s first meeting with President Biden last year, we have repeatedly emphasized that the original proposal would be harmful to both Canada and the United States, so we are pleased to see this recognized in the new version of the bill. ”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who also sounded the alarm over the initial proposal and himself traveled to Washington to lobby U.S. politicians, took to Twitter to salute the agreement.

« Thank you to everyone who joined the push, » he wrote. “Let’s continue to build a North American partnership that works for everyone.

« There was a lot at stake, » said Ontario Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli. « This is the next step towards closure…it gives us a clear signal to pursue even more business in the auto parts business. »

Although he also hailed the deal as « good to see », President Brian Kingston of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association – which represents Stellantis, the parent company of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler – said the US grants for electric vehicle buyers are significantly higher than the $5,000 offered. in the Trudeau government’s latest budget.

« We have to match, » he added, noting that the Detroit Three are investing billions in electric vehicle production in Canada, including a $5 billion electric vehicle battery plant by Stellantis and LG in Windsor, which will be supplied with critical minerals from mines in northern Ontario.

« We can play a huge role in this battery supply chain. »

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