GE Will Move Some Production to Canada
General Electric will move production of gas engines from its facility in Waukesha, Wisconsin, to a new plant in Canada.
The $265 million facility in Canada is expected to open in about 20 months. The plant will use data, analytics and software to produce engines for GE Power & Water, as well as diesel engine components for GE Transportation.
The move by the Fairfield, Connecticut-based industrial multi-national is the latest repercussion in the political battle over the failure by Congress in June to renew the charter the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) and the resulting evaporation of the bank’s export credit funds.
In exchange for moving the production from the Wisconsin plant, Export Development Canada will provide GE with financing support for a range of future products, including some still made in the U.S.
“We continue to urge Congress to reauthorize the EXIM Bank for all American companies,” said John Rice, vice chairman at GE. “However, we must prepare for the worst case and arrange export finance outside the U.S. Unfortunately, this will come at the expense of American jobs.”
In early September, GE said the lack of EXIM export credit financing was forcing it to move 500 U.S. power turbine manufacturing jobs to Europe and China. The company is currently bidding on $11 billion worth of international power projects that require export credit agency financing.
France’s COFACE export agency has reportedly agreed to support some of GE’s $11 global power project bids with a new line of credit in exchange for moving production of heavy-duty gas turbines – and some 400 jobs – to a production facility in Belfort, France.
The company, the largest industrial conglomerate in the U.S., also said 100 additional jobs involved in packaging aero-derivative gas turbines will move next year from a plant outside of Houston, Texas, to facilities in Hungary and China.
“If the EXIM bank were open, it would be business as usual,” said Rice. “If you’re an export credit agency outside the U.S., you are now in the process of rolling out the red carpet to U.S. manufacturers.”
GE, he added, “will soon announce agreements with other foreign export credit agencies to finance GE products. If EXIM isn’t going to happen, or it’s going to be a regular fight to be reauthorized, we’ve got to make other plans.”