NAFTA autos rules to keep Detroit carmakers competitive: trade group chief

FILE PHOTO - Vehicles are covered with protective wrap as workers prepare the General Motors automakers display ahead of the media preview of the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan January 11, 2014. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Stronger automotive content rules that are emerging from NAFTA negotiations are expected to keep North America competitive as a production base and allow General Motors GM.N, Ford F.N and Fiat Chrysler FCHA.MI to remain competitive globally, the head of their trade group said on Thursday.

Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, told reporters on a conference call that he was “very encouraged” by the direction of U.S.-Mexico bilateral talks on North American Free Trade Agreement rules of origin, and that the three domestic companies will be able to meet the new rules over time.

“We certainly reserve the right to see the final details, but we are hopeful that the rule of origin discussion will wrap up in the near future,” Blunt said. “And based on our understanding of those discussions, it’s something that would allow North America to remain competitive and our companies to be competitive in the global automotive economy.”

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Marguerita Choy