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Dana hosts Trump at Michigan plant to celebrate USMCA


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Fleet Owner  /  February 3, 2020

One day after signing the updated trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, President Trump took the celebration to a Dana Inc. manufacturing facility in Michigan.

On Jan. 29, Trump held a ceremony at the White House to sign the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the replacement to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Included at the event were numerous trucking industry officials and members of America’s Road Team.

The next afternoon, Trump took the message to the key election battleground state of Michigan, speaking to Dana employees and other invited guests at the famous manufacturing facility in the town of Warren. “The USMCA is the most fairest, balanced and beneficial trade deal we’ve ever signed into law,” Trump said during his remarks.

James Kamsickas, president, CEO and chairman of Dana, wrote in an e-mail to Fleet Owner shortly after the event his company “has been a strong supporter of USMCA. It was an honor to host President Trump at the first official White House event following the signing of the bill into law and to hear from him directly on a topic that is important for our company and our industry.”

Kamsickas noted the plant went from producing 16,000 parts a day to hosting the president -- and then immediately transitioned back to work on for next shift.  

“Dana Corp. is the perfect place to honor the immortal legacy of the American worker,” Trump said. “I just want to congratulate all of the people at Dana. You have all been outstanding and it really is the great people right now — the great people that work here — those people that can do such precision work. You’re the ones that are doing it, and you’re the ones in our country and the people who we have great respect for.”

The facility, which makes axle components for the light- and heavy-duty markets, was originally designed as the Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant. Back in 1941, the plant began producing tanks and became “famous for producing more than one quarter of the tanks for the United States in World War II,” Kamsickas said. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt toured the grounds with the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1942.

Technically, USMCA still must be ratified by Canada before it can be officially implemented. The deal requires that 75% of a vehicle must be made in North America, an effort to help the U.S. automotive industry. Under NAFTA, it was 62.5%.

The signing of USMCA “is the beginning of the next phase in our strong and productive relationship with Mexico and Canada,” said Chris Spear, president and CEO of American Trucking Associations.

“The USMCA will provide opportunity for manufacturing growth in the United States and throughout the region,” said MEMA President and CEO Bill Long, who also received an invitation to attend the White House signing ceremony. “This action begins to establish economic certainty, which is essential to preserving and enhancing vital North American supply chains for the U.S. motor vehicle sector.”

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