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In Pictures: A look at how free trade drives GM's engines

Updated : 2019-11-18 17:38:48

US President Donald Trump now seeks to replace NAFTA with the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), signed by the countries' leaders last November, which he says will boost American jobs. However, if Trump follows through on his repeated threats to pull the United States out of NAFTA if the US Congress does not ratify USMCA, automakers would be forced to pay a patchwork of tariffs under World Trade Organization rules. That would destroy the cost advantages of their cross-border supply chains - which include US companies employing American workers - and would likely force automakers to redesign their manufacturing models and find cheaper alternatives elsewhere, industry experts say.

A GM Romulus Powertrain sign is seen outside the plant in Romulus, Michigan, U.S. Long before the pistons for General Motors Co V-6 engines reach the automaker's Romulus, Michigan plant, they are seasoned international travellers. Rebecca Cook
A GM Romulus Powertrain sign is seen outside the plant in Romulus, Michigan, U.S. Long before the pistons for General Motors Co V-6 engines reach the automaker's Romulus, Michigan plant, they are seasoned international travellers. Rebecca Cook
A General Motors assembly worker works on assembling a V6 engine, used in a variety of GM cars, trucks and crossovers, at the GM Romulus Powertrain plant in Romulus. Powdered aluminium from Tennessee is shipped to Pennsylvania and forged at high temperatures into connecting rods for the pistons, which are then sent to Canada to be shaped and polished.  They are then shipped to Mexico for sub-assembly and finally the finished pistons are loaded onto trucks bound for Romulus to become part of a GM V-6 engine. Rebecca Cook
A General Motors assembly worker works on assembling a V6 engine, used in a variety of GM cars, trucks and crossovers, at the GM Romulus Powertrain plant in Romulus. Powdered aluminium from Tennessee is shipped to Pennsylvania and forged at high temperatures into connecting rods for the pistons, which are then sent to Canada to be shaped and polished.  They are then shipped to Mexico for sub-assembly and finally the finished pistons are loaded onto trucks bound for Romulus to become part of a GM V-6 engine. Rebecca Cook
GM's V-6 engine is just one example of how GM and rivals Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have used the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to shift work to lower-cost facilities across the continent, cutting expenses and boosting returns from the region that represents the bulk of their global profits. Rebecca Cook
GM's V-6 engine is just one example of how GM and rivals Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have used the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to shift work to lower-cost facilities across the continent, cutting expenses and boosting returns from the region that represents the bulk of their global profits. Rebecca Cook
US President Donald Trump now seeks to replace NAFTA with the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), signed by the countries' leaders last November, which he says will boost American jobs. The US automakers have lobbied hard for the new treaty to preserve NAFTA's effective lack of borders, and say they can work with it because it does just that. Rebecca Cook
US President Donald Trump now seeks to replace NAFTA with the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), signed by the countries' leaders last November, which he says will boost American jobs. The US automakers have lobbied hard for the new treaty to preserve NAFTA's effective lack of borders, and say they can work with it because it does just that. Rebecca Cook
However, if Trump follows through on his repeated threats to pull the United States out of NAFTA if the US Congress does not ratify USMCA, automakers would be forced to pay a patchwork of tariffs under World Trade Organization rules. REUTERS/Harrison McClary/File Photo
However, if Trump follows through on his repeated threats to pull the United States out of NAFTA if the US Congress does not ratify USMCA, automakers would be forced to pay a patchwork of tariffs under World Trade Organization rules. REUTERS/Harrison McClary/File Photo
That would destroy the cost advantages of their cross-border supply chains - which include US companies employing American workers - and would likely force automakers to redesign their manufacturing models and find cheaper alternatives elsewhere, industry experts say. REUTERS/Harrison McClary/File Photo
That would destroy the cost advantages of their cross-border supply chains - which include US companies employing American workers - and would likely force automakers to redesign their manufacturing models and find cheaper alternatives elsewhere, industry experts say. REUTERS/Harrison McClary/File Photo
Final inspection is performed as the vehicles are ready to leave the assembly line at the General Motors (GM) manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. REUTERS/Harrison McClary/File Photo
Final inspection is performed as the vehicles are ready to leave the assembly line at the General Motors (GM) manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. REUTERS/Harrison McClary/File Photo
Cadillac XT6 vehicles are seen at the La Fontaine Cadillac dealership in Highland, Michigan, US REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
Cadillac XT6 vehicles are seen at the La Fontaine Cadillac dealership in Highland, Michigan, US REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
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