Ford Motor Asks for ‘Certainty’ From Trump Administration Trade Chief

(Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. is watching trade talks closely. With almost 40 percent of its revenue coming from outside North America and factories in Mexico and Canada, the second-largest U.S. automaker has a lot at stake in the outcomes of the Trump administration’s myriad negotiations and tariff schemes.

Bill Ford, the executive chairman and great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford, said the company -- especially Joe Hinrichs, the president of global operations -- keeps in close contact with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Ford’s wish: Less chaos, more clarity.

“Our business runs a lot better when we have certainty and when we don’t have big gyrations, because our lead times are long” and the industry is capital-intensive, Bill Ford said Thursday at a centennial celebration of the company’s Rouge manufacturing complex near its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. He added that the Rouge factory will eventually make a hybrid version of the F-150 pickup.

Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett on Wednesday said agreement on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement appeared imminent. The chairman on Thursday cautioned it isn’t a done deal yet.

“It’s a very fluid situation,” Ford said. “We wanted Nafta to be modernized, and I think part of that has happened and there’s still some work to go.”

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