June 16 - 18, 2020 | Toronto Congress Centre (South Building)
APMA President Flavio Volpe discussed the challenges of free trade and tariffs
“FABTECH Canada proved to be a busy and enlightening show. Attendees had the chance to see some of the latest and greatest machine tools available in the market, test out and see demonstrations of the latest welding machines and automation systems, and to explore what’s new among consumables and abrasives manufacturers.
Some of the highlights included new maintenance support programs, software advances, and advanced automation systems. See the slideshow below to get a peek at just a few of these innovative technologies.
Among the many conference sessions available, one of interest was Flavio Volpe’s keynote address on the first day of the show. Volpe is president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association (APMA) and his topic was “Manufacture and Trade: Can Canada Do Both?”
One of Volpe’s biggest concerns is the perception of manufacturing among those in Canada’s government and financial sectors.
“I hear people saying, ‘Flavio, [automotive manufacturing] is yesterday’s industry, you’ve got to get with it.’” The inference is that Canada should be involved on the coding side of vehicle manufacturing more rather than the actual building of the automobile. “The problem is, you write the code for the Chrysler LX program, you win that contract and it’s amazing. But how many people are you going to hire once you’ve done that? Not many. This room of people is already 10 times what you might hire. The fact is that someone is going to hire somebody to make those cars. So if we say we’re going to concede that space because we’re going to be code writers or sensor makers, someone is still going to make those cars. There are a lot of countries breathing down our necks to make those cars. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is all about Vietnam and Malaysia wanting to make those cars. If you want to stay in that business you have to decide you want to stay in that business.”
As Volpe sees it, agreements like the TPP are all about what a country is willing to give up to create a new market for their goods. The question ends up being, what could we lose in the manufacturing sector? The fact is, it could be a lot.”