Home' Greymouth Star : January 14th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, January 14, 2017
ord Motor Co’s abrupt move
to scrap a planned $1.6 billion
car plant in central Mexico
has spooked a network
of suppliers who bet on a
growing customer base and
dramatized the risk that Donald Trump’s
agenda poses to the country’s broader
Many car parts makers had started to
expand in anticipation of Ford’s plant
in the State of San Luis Potosi, where
industry is “easily 70%” dependent on the
car sector, Julian Eaves, managing director
of Preferred Compounding de Mexico,
a United States-owned maker of rubber
compounds operating there, said.
“ It ’s going to have a huge impact on the
local community,” Eaves said.
The loss to the economy, Eaves
calculated, could run into the hundreds of
millions of dollars, and maybe even into
the billions, over the next five years, as
manufacturing, contracting and indirect
jobs all fall short of plans. Officials say
they are still analysing the economic
impact of the Ford decision.
The haemorrhaging may be just the
beginning of Mexico’s pain from Trump’s
vows to shake up trade and bring
manufacturing jobs back north when he
takes office on January 20.
Ford ascribed its move to a decline
in North American demand for small
cars like the ones it planned to make in
San Luis Potosi. But Trump had been
lambasting Ford for its Mexico operations,
months before he was elected president in
Trump upped the ante last week,
threatening to slap a “border tax” on
Japanese car maker Toyota for cars it sells
to the US from a new plant in Mexico,
fuelling fears of an all-out offensive by his
government on Mexican industry.
Mexico’s government “categorically”
rejected any attempt to use threats
to influence investment decisions in
Mexico, saying it wanted to boost the
competitiveness of North America. It did
not mention Trump or Toyota in its brief
In a matter of days, Ford’s retreat has
turned the factory site into a barren plain
bereft of its economic promise.
“ It now looks like a cemetery,” said
Fernando Rosales, 28, a hydraulic hoses
contractor preparing to abandon the site.
“(There is) only death here, we are all
Ford’s decision also puts the brakes on
Detroit car makers’ push to build small
cars in Mexico to reduce labour costs,
while using higher-paid US workers for
larger, more expensive vehicles.
Not far from the doomed Ford site, other
major players from the global automotive
industry are in the midst of multi-million
dollar investments, including General
Motors, which Trump has also repeatedly
berated for investing in Mexico.
German car maker BMW is assembling
a $1b plant, and a few miles from the Ford
site, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co is busy
building a $550 million tyre facility.
The US president-elect ’s broadsides
against Mexico have shown how exposed
companies in the supply chain are to the
whims of US car makers under pressure
not to offshore production.
Shares in Kansas City Southern, one of
the main railroad operators in Mexico, fell
following news of the Ford cancellation.
Between 40 and 50, mostly foreign-
owned, suppliers were ready to come and
supply the San Luis Potosi plant, Sergio
Resendez of real estate broker Colliers
“This was going to catapult us,” Gustavo
Puente, the State economy minister of
San Luis Potosi, said of the plant Ford
originally announced in April of last year.
Ford told him the plan was off about an
hour before it went public with the news,
Around 12 to 14 of the suppliers had
already invested money buying land or
signed a contract with developers, said
Resendez of Colliers, though Puente
suggested the number was fewer.
“ It ’s a very, very complicated hole,”
Resendez said. “ The suppliers, depending
on their level of advancement, will
lose money. They had already made big
At the Ford premises, shocked and
dejected workers packed up construction
materials and prepared to leave.
“This is a massive kick in the teeth,”
Rosalio Rocha, 52, a construction worker
on the site from a nearby town said.
“ It looks like he is going to keep going
on about it,” he added, referring to Trump.
Some of the ground at the 280ha site
had already been levelled and the skeletons
of two large, white buildings stood out
against a rusty brown and green backdrop.
Workers said they had heard plans for
an industrial park opposite the site for
suppliers had also been suspended. The
park’s developers were not immediately
available to comment.
The auto sector is at the heart of a
Mexican industrial boom since the 1994
North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) between it, the United States
and Canada, a deal Trump has threatened
to renegotiate in favour of the US or scrap
“ It hurts because we’re partners in
trade, culture, sports, we’re partners in
everything,” Puente said. “It hurts because
they — he — is pushing a policy that
wants to break those ties.”
About half of the foreign direct
investment to Mexico since the start of the
century has come from the US, where it
sends around 80% of its goods exports.
Car making is no exception.
Mexico produced 3.22 million cars in the
first 11 months of last year, and exported
2.55 million, local industry group AMIA
said. Fully 77% of the exports went to the
Some Mexican States have come to
depend on autos almost entirely for
growth. In San Luis Potosi, 15,000-17,000
new direct jobs are expected to be created
in 2017, all in the auto sector, according
to federal labor delegate Edgar Duron.
The total does not include the Ford
plant, which had been expected to create
thousands of additional jobs in coming
The San Luis Potosi Dtate government
had already paid part of the one billion
pesos ($47 million) it owed under a
contract to support the Ford plant, Puente
said, without specifying how much. The
federal government said Ford would
reimburse the sum.
Projects, both private and public, are
under way to spend hundreds of millions
of pesos to expand the city’s airport and
build a new bus line in expectation of a
But the real fear in Mexico is that, as
Trump himself tweeted after the Ford
decision, “ This is just the beginning. ”
Outside the Goodyear plant in San Luis
Potosi, 46-year-old Marcos Rodriguez, an
engineer working on the facility, said that
Mexico should assume that other sites are
“ Here there’s a lot of equipment inside,
so I think it would be a little more
difficult,” he said. “(But) can they cancel it?
I think they can.” — Reuters
Workers chat at the construction site where Ford cancelled a $1.6 billion plant in Villa de Reyes, on the outskirts of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
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uLetters to the editor
1742 - Death of English astronomer
Edmond Halley, who calculated the orbit of
Halley ’s Comet.
1784 - United States ratifies peace treaty with
England, formally ending American War of
1830 - Explorer Charles Sturt discovers
river joining Murrumbidgee system
which he calls the Murray (unaware
same river had already been found
by Hamilton and William Hume in
1824 and called the Hume).
1878 - The first private connection
by telephone in Britain is made
on the Isle of Wight when Queen
Victoria speaks to Thomas Biddulph.
1898 - Death of Charles Dodgson, better
known as Lewis Carroll, British author of
Alice in Wonderland.
1943 - US President Franklin Roosevelt and
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
open a wartime conference in Casablanca.
1958 - Qantas begins round-world ser vice
with two Super Constellation aircraft.
1979 - Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen achieves a
record 10 years, five months and six days as
1995 - The British Army ends 25 years of
daylight patrols in Belfast in a wind-down of
a guerrilla conflict which engulfed Northern
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Valdemar I, the Great, Danish king
(1131-1182); Benedict Arnold, US general
(1741-1801); Zacharias Topelius, Finnish
writer (1818-1898); Albert Schweitzer,
German-French missionary and doctor
(1875-1965); Sir Cecil Beaton,
English photographer and stage
designer (1904-1980); Yukio
Mishima, Japanese novelist (1925-
1970); Clarence Carter, US blues
singer (1936-); Faye D unaway, US
actress (1941-); Graham Marsh,
Australian golfer (1944-); Steven
Soderbergh, US film writer-director (1963-);
Emily Watson, British actor (1967-); LL Cool
J, US rapper-actor (1968-); Dave Grohl, US
singer-musician (1969-); Jason Bateman, US
actor (1969-); Caleb Followill, US singer-
musician (1982-); Jack P Shepherd, English
actor (1988-) .
“ Dignity is like a perfume; those who use
it are scarcely conscious of it. ” — Queen
Christina of Sweden (1626-1689).
and His grace toward me has not been in vain.”
— 1 Corinthians 15:10
Tenders are being
called today for
Cobden’s new fire
station, which will
replace the old building which once housed
the Cobden Town Board as well as the brigade.
The new building will be on the corner of
Ward and Newcastle streets and be a far cry
from the board’s present home.
Because some early records of the Grey
County Council have been burned it is difficult
to fix the age of the present building. The
Cobden brigade was formed just over 51 years
ago and began its operation from an annexe
beside the town board’s offices.
The Greymouth Railway Road Ser vices
depot is to operate without the ser vices of the
mechanic whose ‘redundancy ’ was contested
by the ASRS union early last month, to the
extent of a three-day strike. He has accepted
a position with the ser vice in Lumsden and
is transferring. He will not be replaced in
But the Greymouth branch of the union said
it still maintained as against the management
contention, that there was more than sufficient
work for a fourth mechanic at the depot here.
The influence of celebrities on a few
Greymouth parents may have a lasting effect in
some forms. This is revealed by a sur vey at the
office of the Registrar of Births, Deaths and
Marriages in Greymouth.
Crispian, Shari and Lyndon made the list as
did Heidi, Sian, Courtney, Tavanna and Pallas.
Damian cannot be described as an unusual
name any more. It appeared at least three
The most popular girl’s name was Marie (or
Maree), and among the boys Stephen and John
uFood for thought
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03 769 7900 (office)
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03 755 8422
hen a Fox News reporter
asked Donald Trump
about Wikileaks founder
Julian Assange back in
2010, just after Assange
had released a huge cache of secret United
States diplomatic cables, the reality
television star had no doubts: “I think it’s
disgraceful, I think there should be like the
death penalty or something. ”
Circumstances change, however, and
smart people with big brains know when
it is time to switch sides. It was Wikileaks,
once again, that revealed the hacked
e-mails from the Democratic National
Committee that did such damage to
Hillary Clinton’s campaign last summer.
But Trump now readily accepts Assange’s
word that he did not get those e-mails
from the Russians.
Trump has been having a problem with
the main US intelligence agencies, which
unanimously insist that the Russians did
indeed hack the DNC’s e-mails, and that
they passed them to Wikileaks (through
an intermediary) in order to damage
Clinton’s presidential election campaign.
“ Putin and the Russian government
developed a clear preference for President-
elect Trump,” as the joint intelligence
report put it.
So Trump was very happy to be able to
reply (in a tweet, of course) that “Assange .
. . s aid Russians did not give him the info!”
After all, what motive could Assange have
for lying about it?
Well, there is the fact that Assange has
been living in one room in the Ecuadorian
Embassy in London for the past four
years, in order to avoid being extradited to
the US on espionage charges that could
get him up to 45 years in prison. Donald
Trump is the one person who could make
all that trouble go away, once he becomes
the president, so doing him a favour now
might be a wise move on Assange’s part.
Assange would not even have to lie
outright, because the Russians would
obviously never give him the e-mails
directly. There would have to be one
or more persons in between, because
Wikileaks is not in the business of
taking leaks from governments. Assange
might have strong suspicions about who
originally hacked the DNC, but he did not
necessarily go all out to confirm them.
Moreover, as Trump points out, the
Central Intelligence Agency, the National
Security Agency and the Federal Bureau
of Investigation are the same organisations
that cooked up the evidence for Saddam
Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction”
so that President George W Bush could
Nevertheless, the US intelligence
agencies are probably right to blame
their Russian counterparts for the hacks
that caused the Clinton campaign such
problems. President Vladimir Putin has
been quite open about preferring Trump
to Clinton, and the leaks definitely gave a
boost to Trump’s election campaign in late
July and August.
On the other hand, that happened so
long before the actual vote in November
that it is impossible to say if it had any
effect on the outcome.
The event that probably did give Trump
his very narrow margin of victory (100,000
votes spread between three key swing
States) was FBI director James Comey ’s
bizarre decision to declare that Hillary
Clinton was facing another investigation
only 11 days before the vote.
It is all might-have-beens, and the
only reason it has become controversial
is Trump’s extremely thin skin. He is
questioning the intelligence ser vices’
conclusions about Russian interference
because he believes (wrongly) that they
undermine the validity of his election
victory. But his strong sympathy for
the Russian position, though driven by
perceived personal interests, is a refreshing
break from the usual Washington
He said it himself (in another tweet):
“Having a good relationship with Russia is
a good thing, not a bad thing. Only stupid
people or fools would think that it is bad.
We have enough problems around the
world without yet another one.”
This is a perfectly reasonable statement.
Trump’s views on China give cause for
alarm, but his desire for a reconciliation
with Russia makes more sense than the
reflex hostility that both Hillary Clinton
and the US intelligence ser vices bring
to the relationship. Putin is a player, and
sometimes he plays rough, but his recent
meddling in the American election is far
less than the massive US interference in
Russian elections in the 1990s.
In seeking a rapprochement with
Moscow, Trump should not make the
mistake of accepting Russia’s illegal
annexation of Crimea. Changing
borders by force (even if most of the
local population approves of it) has been
banned by international law for more than
half a century, and we should not start
making exceptions to that rule now.
But while the US never accepted the old
Soviet Union’s illegal annexation of the
Baltic states in 1940, it did not let that
stand in the way of improving the US-
Soviet relationship as the Cold War drew
to an end.
There is much that the US and Russia
could usefully co-operate on now, starting
with putting an end to the war in Syria.
On this issue, at least, Trump is right
and Obama, Clinton and the spooks are
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalst whose articles are published in
Trump, Wikileaks and Russia
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Ford plant becomes cemetery as Trump hits foreign cars
Cats would have healthier lifestyles if
they were fed five or more small portions
of food a day instead of less frequent
bigger portions, according to a diet plan
created by scientists.
The programme suggests that
mimicking the way cats eat in the wild
could change their behaviour and make
them happier and healthier.
It encourages cats to climb, hunt,
explore and play in the safety of their
own home — activities which the experts
say boost cats’ positive behaviour and
Scientists working with The Big Bang
Fair 2017 — a science and engineering
fair for young people in Birmingham —
claim cats’ modern lifestyles could lead to
pets not being mentally stimulated and
eating too much food.
The change in diet could help address
problems that owners may see in cats
caused by feeding straight from packet to
bowl, coupled with a lack of opportunity
to interact with their environment.
The idea — dubbed the five a day Felix
plan and created by Dr Sarah Ellis and
Dr Lizzie Rowe — recommends giving
cats five or more small portions of food
a day, rather than feeding them fewer,
It also suggests using home-made
puzzle feeders, changing food location
regularly, monitoring behaviour and
weight, and making sure they have plenty
“The way we feed our cats generally
does not match the lifestyle they were
designed for,” Dr Ellis said.
“Cats have undergone little in the
way of selective breeding during the
domestication process and therefore have
an instinctive need to hunt.” — PA
Cats are healthier eating five meals a day, say researchers
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