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GM executives defend NAFTA, Mexican truck plant

Reuters  |  DETROIT 

By David Shepardson

(Reuters) - Executive expressed optimism on Saturday that the North American Agreement would survive, and other senior executives stood by the company's plans to continue building trucks in

At an event to tout GM's 2019 pickup truck ahead of the auto show, Barra twice did not answer directly when asked if the automaker is reconsidering current production in in light of potential changes or the collapse of the trade deal between the United States, and

Company executives did not rule out future changes to its North American production plans depending on the outcome of ongoing renegotiation talks, even though it would be costly to shift production of trucks.

Rival Automobiles NV said on Thursday it will move production of its next-generation heavy-duty pickup trucks to from a plant in Mexico, a move that reduces the risk that those trucks would be hit with a 25 percent tariff if unravels.

Barra sidestepped a question about GM's Mexican truck factory, saying, "When I look at our footprint, there is so much more work and negotiations to be done on "

Mark Reuss, GM's product development chief, said the company is using its existing truck plants in North America, but would not elaborate when asked if could stop building trucks in

"I'm not sure that we would tell anybody that," Reuss said. "I don't think we'd be talking about our footprint in the future."

In a separate exchange with reporters, Reuss said intended to use its North American factories, including those in

Barra, who met in November with Vice along with other U.S. auto executives, said has been working to educate the about the complexities of the auto industry and its supply base.

"We're going to continue to work constructively to get a modernized agreement," she said.

Barra said she was optimistic that would survive. has threatened to walk away from the 1994 accord unless major changes are made in negotiations with and

Other executives defended the company's North American manufacturing strategy, saying 80 percent of the trucks sold in the are made in U.S. factories.

said GM's Mexican truck plant supports U.S. jobs.

"The truck we build in Mexico, the engines come from the U.S. Everything is interlinked," Batey told reporters after showing off the new

Asked what would do if the pulls out of NAFTA, Batey said would "have to worry about that when we get there."

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Will Dunham)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 14 2018. 08:51 IST