Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation has thick file on Trump

WEEDC is watching U.S. president-elect Donald Trump closely as his inauguration creeps closer. Among the causes for concern is speculation about what impact he'll have on the auto sector.

WEEDC says city should be pursuing opportunities in automotive technology

President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in New York. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press)

The group in charge of Windsor's economic progress has amassed a thick file on president-elect Donald Trump in the days leading up to his inauguration.

During the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation's meeting Wednesday evening officials touched on Trump as they began forming a new five-year strategic plan for the area. 

Potential changes to the auto industry were a popular topic of discussion.

Stephen MacKenzie, the group's CEO, said he's been monitoring the incoming American administration and several members of his staff have already attended events at the North American International Auto Show and met international companies.

"One of those big potential challenges or threats is, what is is the Trump administration policies going to mean for our auto industry and our other industries here in Windsor-Essex?" MacKenzie said.

Countries need each other

According to the CEO, the WEEDC file on Trump is the thickest in his office. 

He said the president-elect is a potential threat based on his  'America First' promises, but MacKenzie is hopeful Trump's business sense will win in the end.

"If you take him at his word, that he does not want to enact policies or take actions that harm US workers, then many of the aspects of the auto industry that are here should do just fine," the CEO said.

Ontario's minister of economic development, Brad Duguid, told CBC members of the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council believe the key with Trump is to be aware of the risks, but not ot overreact.

​"There's 259,000 jobs in Michigan alone, right across from Windsor, that depend on that unfettered border and 750,000 American jobs overall that depend on that border," he explained. "The fact is, 20 states in the U.S. have Ontario as its number one export destination."

Automotive tech the future

As for the economic future of the area, MacKenzie said Windsor should be pursuing opportunities in the automotive technology field. 

"Let's be ready and let's try to identify those areas where we can have an impact," MacKenzie said.