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 CHICAGO, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A Ford official today said that passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will boost U.S. job opportunities for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors and the thousands of businesses that support their production throughout the country.
 "I am here representing the views of the three auto companies -- Chrysler, Ford and General Motors," said Susan Shackson, director of Public Policy for Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F). "We believe NAFTA is a good deal for the U.S. It will promote jobs in all three countries (U.S., Mexico and Canada)."
 Shackson joined Chicago business leaders participating in President Clinton's national town meeting in support of NAFTA. The town meeting, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was conducted to discuss the positive impact NAFTA will have on America's small and medium-size businesses. The three auto makers are the No. 1 customer of small business in the United States.
 America's car companies export a relatively small number of vehicles to Mexico because Mexican law all but prohibits U.S.-made vehicles. NAFTA steadily eliminates Mexico's trade barriers and will result in increased U.S. exports and U.S. jobs.
 "For example," Shackson said, "today it's difficult to export our best-selling Ford Taurus, produced in the nearby Chicago Assembly Plant to Mexico because of Mexican import restrictions." If NAFTA passes "in the next couple of years we would hope to start shipping Chicago-built Mercury Sables and other Canadian or U.S.-built vehicles to Mexico."
 Shackson added: "Even today there are a lot of U.S. auto jobs supporting Mexican production. Ford's Chicago Stamping Plant alone shipped about $25 million in body panels to Mexico last year for use in cars and trucks made for sale solely in Mexico -- and in 1992 the company exported almost $500 million worth of components to Mexico.
 "Eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers would permit America's car companies to export vehicles from U.S. plants. NAFTA means more jobs in U.S. plants and an opportunity for U.S. plants to take part in the fastest-growing auto market in North America and the second-fastest in the world," she said.
 Shackson also pointed out that while those opposed to NAFTA have highlighted Mexico's low wage rates, the fact is that in the auto sector wages are a relatively small contributor to the overall cost of doing business.
 "Additional transportation costs alone offset wage advantages in Mexico," Shackson said. "If wages were the driving force to locate plants there, Honda, Toyota, BMW and Mercedes would have chosen Mexico for their newest North American facilities. They didn't. They chose Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina and Alabama."
 Shackson concluded: "The auto c?ts are simple. The trade barriers are in Mexico, not the U.S., and the dismantling of these barriers will be a major opportunity for U.S. sales and jobs."
 -0- 11/1/93
 /CONTACT: Bert Serre of Ford, 313-322-1185/

CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

SB -- DE014 -- 9197 11/01/93 13:35 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 1, 1993

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