Ford CEO on meeting with Trump, impact of border tax

After his meeting with President Trump last week, Ford CEO Mark Fields is optimistic.

“Overall, I think it’s positive that we have a president that’s focusing on the economy. And I think for him in his first week to have a couple of meetings around manufacturing and rebuilding manufacturing here in the U.S. and on the auto industry is very positive,” Fields, who is a member of the president’s manufacturing jobs initiative, said Monday on “CBS This Morning.” “I mean, we share the same goal. We all want a healthy U.S. economy.” 

Mr. Trump met with the heads of the big three automakers: Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler. They discussed the future of car-making in America. Calling it a “really good conversation,” Fields said the president asked their opinions on how to drive manufacturing job growth in the U.S.

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President Donald Trump greets Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields as he hosts a meeting with U.S. auto industry CEOs at the White House in Washington January 24, 2017. 

Kevin Lamarque/REUTERS

The White House has suggested it may propose import taxes, particularly from Mexico, to help pay for the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Fields, who said his company imports about 13 percent of their U.S. sales from Mexico, noted that such a tax would “clearly” impact his company. But asked whether he’d oppose it, Fields said he’d have to take a look at broader tax reform proposals.

“It’s going to have to be in the context overall of tax reform. And we’ve been a big proponent of comprehensive tax reform. If that’s an element of it, we have to see other elements of it that will help grow businesses and grow the economy,” he said.

Fields is hoping that in addition to the conversations, there will be action. He said he wants to see “a situation where regulations are tamped down bit that will allow businesses and the economy to grow while still obviously keeping consumers safe.”

Today Ford is launching a FordHub at Manhattan’s Westfield World Trade Center shopping mall, at the transit hub also known as the Oculus, as its first “brand experience” studio. Fields said it’s an opportunity for consumers to learn about “the future of mobility,” catering to those particularly in urban areas that care more about car access than car ownership.