NEW ERA BEGINS WITH AUTO PACT’S DEATH

WINDSOR, Ont. — Some 36 years ago, a deal struck by the Canadian government of the day helped turn Canada into the fourth largest auto producing nation in the world.

Yesterday the auto pact officially came to an end and was marked by only a small, lunch-break demonstration by workers at Windsor’s Pillette Road factory — a DaimlerChrysler plant frequently mentioned as a likely target for closure.

The 1965 agreement forced automakers to build at least as many vehicles in Canada as they sold here.

Labor officials insist the plant was built in the mid-70s, when the former Chrysler Corp., falling behind the pact’s production quota, agreed to build the factory rather than pay hundreds of millions of dollars in tariffs.

Last year, the World Trade Organization ruled the pact worked as an illegal export subsidy favoring the Big Three over Asian- and European-based manufacturers who don’t produce many vehicles in Canada. The trade body ruled the pact had to die by Feb. 19.

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