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2013-03-20

* Belgium - Ford to pay workers $750 million in plant closing

(Photo: Ford Genk -2007- Genk Plant to cease vehicle production by the end of 2014)
Genk,Belgium -The Detroit News, by Karl Henkel -March 20, 2013: -- Ford Motor Co. will pay approximately 4,000 hourly workers at its Genk, Belgium, assembly plant a total of $750 million in separation benefits... Ford now will be able to close the facility by the end of next year as it looks to cut excess capacity to meet dwindling demand in economically challenged Europe... The 4,000 employees will receive about $187,500 each. Ford has also begun negotiating with about 300 salaried workers... The cost of closing the plant was expected to top $1 billion, analysts projected at Ford's announcement in October...


* U.S. expresses 'serious concern' about Japan's auto trade policy. Big 3, union fear dropping tariffs could lead to job losses 

Washington,DC,USA -The Detroit News, by DAVID SHEPARDSON -March 20, 2013:  -- President Barack Obama has "serious concern" about Japan's auto trade policy, a senior administration official said Tuesday. Acting U.S. Trade Representative, Demetrios Marantistold the Senate Finance Committee that the administration wants to see Japan make more progress on auto issues... Last week, Japan asked to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade talks, a group of 11 nations led by the U.S.... Detroit's Big Three automakers, many members of Congress and the United Auto Workers union oppose letting Japan join the talks, known as TPP, that have been going on since November 2011... The United States and 11 other nations — including Canada and Mexico — have been in talks since 2011 aimed at creating a massive free trade zone that would eliminate all tariffs and barriers among the nations. Japan has stayed out of the talks... Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party approved letting Japan join if the world's third-largest economy can keep in place tariffs on key agriculture products, including rice, wheat, beef and sugar...

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