Lamar Alexander: trade pact could help VW's Chattanooga plant

Lamar Alexander: trade pact could help VW's Chattanooga plant

February 20th, 2013 by Mike Pare in Local - Breaking News

The Chattanooga Volkswagen plant is seen in this aerial photograph taken in March 2012.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said here today that new U.S. trade talks with Europe over cutting tariffs could help Chattanooga's Volkswagen plant and the state's auto industry in general.

"It could mean thousands new jobs for Tennesseans," Alexander said after meeting with a group of Chattanooga area business people.

The Republican from Tennessee cited the decision last year by Volkswagen to put a new Audi assembly plant in Mexico was partly driven by the tariff issue. Chattanooga had been in the mix for that plant, according to officials.

Alexander noted that Mexico has more favorable trade agreements with Brazil and Europe, helping to lower VW's costs.

Alexander said that automaker Nissan, which has an assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn., and an engine plant in nearby Decherd, Tenn., could benefit as well.

For full story, see Thursday's Times Free Press.