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GM plans to increase pickup truck production with up to $1 billion investment in Canada – CNBC

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General Motors plans to significantly increase production of its highly profitable pickup trucks by investing up to $1 billion in its Canadian operations.

The investment is part of a tentative deal with Canadian union Unifor, GM CEO Mary Barra told investors Thursday during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. The investment is pending union member ratification in the coming days.

“We can’t build enough,” Barra said regarding the trucks. “We will move very quickly. We expect construction to begin on the new body shop and flexible assembly module at Oshawa immediately upon ratification.”

GM expects a “significant increase” in its full-size pickup truck capacity when the plant comes online in January 2022, Barra said. She declined to disclose other details before the deal’s expected ratification.

The investment includes 1 billion to 1.3 billion Canadian dollars ($767 million to $997 million) in the Oshawa assembly plant in Ontario with the expected hiring of 1,400 to 1,700 hourly workers; CA$109 million in its St. Catharines powertrain plant; and CA$500,000 in operations in a parts distribution center.

Barra earlier in the morning told reporters that GM expects demand for its pickups and SUVs to continue to grow as U.S. vehicle sales continue to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We just keep seeing demand for trucks continue to grow. It’s a permanent,” she said during a media call. “As the market recovers, we’re going to see strong truck growth and strong truck demand and market share. That definitely fuels our business.”

Sales of such vehicles largely assisted GM in outperforming Wall Street’s earnings expectations in the third quarter, including a 15% North American operating profit margin – the highest of the Detroit automakers.

The profits from truck sales allow GM to invest in emerging, yet unprofitable, segments such as autonomous and all-electric vehicles. The company is in the process of investing $20 billion in the segments through 2025.

The Oshawa facility has been operating as a parts supplier to other GM plants following vehicle production ending in December 2019. The facility previously assembled passenger cars and assisted in partially producing previous generations of GM’s Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.

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Canada says U.S. ties could be undermined if Michigan shuts pipeline

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A day before Michigan’s deadline to close down a key crude oil pipeline, Canada on Tuesday issued its strongest remarks so far, saying the move could undermine relations with the United States, its closest ally and trading partner.

Enbridge Inc is preparing for a legal battle with Michigan and courting protests from environmental groups, betting it can ignore the state’s Wednesday deadline to shut down Line 5, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac.

The Canadian government said in a U.S. federal court filing that Michigan had no right to act unilaterally since a 1977 Canada-U.S. pipeline treaty guarantees the free flow of oil between the two nations.

“This case raises concerns regarding the efficacy of the historic framework upon which the U.S.-Canada relationship has been successfully managed for generations,” Ottawa said.

Michigan’s move “threatens to undermine important aspects of that cooperative international relationship”, it added.

The brief said Canada would suffer “massive and

potentially permanent disruption” from a shutdown. Line 5 brings 540,000 barrel-per-day of oil from western Canada to refineries and airports in Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

In November, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave Enbridge six months to shut down the pipeline that runs four miles (6.4 km) along the bottom of Lake Michigan-Huron, citing fears it could rupture.

The order needs a confirmatory order from a judge to enforce it, and Enbridge and Michigan are disputing whether the issue should be heard in state or U.S. federal court.

The sides are in court-ordered mediation, with the next session scheduled for May 18.

“We will not stop operating the pipeline unless we are ordered by a court or our regulator, which we view as highly unlikely,” Enbridge spokeswoman Tracie Kenyon said in a statement this week.

Joe Comartin, Canada‘s consul general in Detroit who is arguing on behalf of Ottawa, said litigation could drag on until at least 2024.

“I don’t see a court jumping the gun and ordering it closed … until the litigation and constitutional issues are resolved,” he said by phone.

Canada has been lobbying https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/frustrated-canada-presses-white-house-keep-great-lakes-oil-pipeline-open-2021-04-26 Washington officials to keep the pipeline open in what is likely to be an election year in Canada, but the White House has so far not weighed in.

Ontario estimates the city of Sarnia, across the border from Michigan, could lose 5,000 refinery and chemical plant jobs. Industry lobbyists say thousands of U.S. jobs are in danger.

Environmentalists and indigenous groups opposed to Line 5 say the potential job losses are exaggerated. They plan “Evict Enbridge” rallies in Mackinaw City, Michigan, on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We are very hopeful to hear from the governor that there will be accountability measures for operating that pipeline,” said Beth Wallace of the National Wildlife Federation.

Michigan is reviewing what it could do if Enbridge keeps operating past the deadline, said a spokeswoman for the Michigan Attorney General.

Canadian crude market forward prices suggest most traders do not expect Line 5 to shut in coming months, but the lack of certainty is concerning, said one Calgary-based market source.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Nia Williams; Editing by David Gregorio and Marguerita Choy)

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Enbridge vows to keep pipeline open, girds for legal fight with Michigan

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Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc is squaring off for a legal battle with Michigan and courting protests from environmental groups, betting it can ignore the U.S. state‘s Wednesday deadline to shut its oil pipeline that runs under the Straits of Mackinac.

“We will not stop operating the pipeline unless we are ordered by a court or our regulator, which we view as highly unlikely,” Enbridge spokeswoman Tracie Kenyon said in a statement this week, ahead of Michigan’s deadline for shutting the line.

Line 5 is a link in Enbridge’s network to bring oil exports from western Canada to refineries and airports in Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. In November, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer gave Enbridge six months to shut down the 540,000 barrel-per-day pipeline that runs four miles along the bottom of Lake Michigan-Huron, citing fears it could rupture and spill.

The state’s order still needs a confirmatory order from a judge to enforce it, and Enbridge and Michigan are disputing whether the issue should be heard in state or U.S. federal court.

The sides are in court-ordered mediation, with the next session scheduled for May 18.

Joe Comartin, Canada‘s consul general in Detroit who is arguing on behalf of the country’s federal government, said litigation could drag on until at least 2024.

“I don’t see a court jumping the gun and ordering it closed … until the litigation and constitutional issues are resolved,” he said in an interview.

The Canadian government has been lobbying officials in Washington to keep the pipeline open in what is likely to be an election year in Canada, but the White House has so far not weighed in on the matter.

The Ontario government estimates that the city of Sarnia, just across the border from Michigan, could lose 5,000 refinery and chemical plant jobs. Industry lobbyists say thousands of jobs are also at risk in the United States.

Environmentalists and indigenous groups opposed to Line 5 say the potential job losses are exaggerated, and are planning “Evict Enbridge” rallies in Mackinaw City, Michigan, on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Past May 12, Enbridge will be operating illegally as per state laws. We are very hopeful to hear from the governor that there will be accountability measures for operating that pipeline,” said Beth Wallace of the National Wildlife Federation.

Michigan is reviewing what remedies would be available to the state if Enbridge keeps operating past the deadline, said Lynsey Mukomel, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Attorney General.

Canadian crude market forward prices suggest most traders do not expect Line 5 to shut in coming months, but the lack of certainty is concerning, said one Calgary-based market source.

“We are looking at all our options and we will leave no stone unturned in defending Canada‘s energy security,” Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan told an emergency parliamentary debate on the pipeline last Thursday.

“We will be ready to intervene strategically at precisely the right moment,” he continued, without giving details.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Nia Williams; Editing by David Gregorio)

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U.S. State Dept approves potential sale of AEGIS Combat System to Canada

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The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale to Canada of 4 AEGIS Combat Systems made by Lockheed Martin in a deal valued at up to $1.7 billion, the Pentagon said on Monday.

The Pentagon said the sale of the powerful missile and radar systems to the NATO ally would “significantly improve” network-centric warfare capabilities for U.S. forces operating globally alongside Canada‘s.

AEGIS systems are primarily used aboard ships though they have been adapted for land use.

The package would include four shipsets worth of the AEGIS Combat System and three shipsets of the MK 41 Vertical Launch System as well as support equipment, spares and technical support, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale on Monday.

Despite approval by the State Department, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded.

 

(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; editing by Grant McCool)

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