Ford Executive Urges U.S.-China to ‘Keep Talking’ on Trade

(Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co.’s message to President Donald Trump on China trade negotiations has been consistent, according to the automaker’s president of global operations: “Keep talking, work together and let’s find a resolution that works for both countries.”

Ford has a net surplus in trade with China and wants an agreement that “makes sense for both parties,” Joe Hinrichs said in an interview at the Chicago Auto Show, where he announced Ford’s plan to invest $1 billion in two Chicago factories and hire 500 workers to expand its ability to crank out high-profit sport-utility vehicles.

His comments come as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to lead talks in Beijing starting early next week.

The S&P 500 Index hit a session low on Thursday after CNBC reported that Trump and China President Xi Jinping are “highly unlikely” to meet before March 1, the deadline for the two economic superpowers to work out a trade deal. Trump confirmed the report, adding that he may meet with Xi later.

Ford Executive Urges U.S.-China to ‘Keep Talking’ on Trade

Trump has imposed new duties on more than $300 billion in U.S. imports in the past year and is threatening additional tariffs on cars, parts and Chinese goods pending negotiations that are underway.

Hinrichs also has a message for Congress: Pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement meant to replace Nafta so the auto industry “has certainty for planning for the future and has a competitive trade agreement that works for North America.”

It’s hard to guess when passage may occur because of the unpredictable environment in Washington, he said.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.