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Mazda CEO sees Mexican plant as key base amid unclear Trump policy

The chief executive of Mazda Motor Corp. said Wednesday that its
Mexican plant will remain a core manufacturing base, unaffected by
trade policies of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump which could
change the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
"We'd like to run it as an extremely strategically important
base," Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai said at a New Year press conference
in Hiroshima where the company is headquartered.
Mazda started production at its plant in Salamanca, Guanajuato,
in 2014 as a key export base. But like other global automakers
operating production facilities in Mexico, its export strategy could
be threatened by Trump, who has said he will renegotiate the
framework of NAFTA, a free trade deal concluded by the United States,
Canada and Mexico.
The remark came a day after Ford Motor Co., a former parent
company of Mazda, said it canceled a plan to build a new factory in
Mexico in a move viewed as having taken into consideration Trump's
call to abandon it to create more jobs in its home market.
It is desirable for NAFTA to be maintained for the whole auto
industry, Kogai said, adding that the Hiroshima-based company has
expanded its business under the NAFTA framework.
"I will be closely watching policies of the incoming (U.S.)
president," he said. (Jan. 4)