TORONTO -- As the Trump administration pushes for a new America-first trade policy that discourages cross-border supply chains, Linamar Corp. stands as an example of how well the opposite approach works.
Linamar, a Canadian supplier of precision powertrain components, is a poster child for free trade.
Founded in 1966 by a refugee fleeing Soviet aggression in his native Hungary, Linamar now has 24,500 employees spread around 12 countries. Its production and supply chain weave in and out of dozens of nations. A single one of its parts might cross seven borders before finding its final home in a completed North American-made vehicle.
That global flow of materials and processes has paid off handsomely. With sales of about $6 billion a year, the company posted its 22nd quarter of double-digit earnings growth at the end of 2016, and investors have been rewarded: Linamar's shares have soared almost 30-fold since their low after the financial crisis in 2008.
Enter U.S. President Donald Trump.
Last week, after calling the North American Free Trade Agreement a "disaster," the U.S. president lashed out against Canada's lumber and dairy industries. A renegotiation of the free trade pact is looming, and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing a 20 percent border tax.
Later in the week, the president threatened via Twitter that if the United States could not renegotiate a more favorable NAFTA, he would terminate the trade agreement.