Continuing its spree of investment decisions outside the United States over the Ex-Im Bank row, General Electric has now announced that GE Power & Water will invest $265 million in Canada to open a new facility to build engines.
The company will cease manufacturing gas engines in Waukesha, WI, where it currently employs 350 people at its manufacturing facility which builds gas engines for compression, mechanical drive and power generation applications.
The company made its plans known without any advance notice to employees and local officials in Waukesha. Apart from the impact of the jobs loss on Waukesha economic development, there are more than 400 U.S. suppliers who will also be impacted. In Wisconsin alone, suppliers generate almost $47 million in revenue from the plant.
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly issued a statement saying that “I was shocked and dismayed when I learned this morning that General Electric will be eliminating 350 good-paying manufacturing jobs in Waukesha. My hope is that this is not a final decision and I will be able to work with General Electric and our state and federal partners to retain these important jobs here.”
Mayor Reilly will be meeting personally with GE officials, and has also reached out to Governor Scott Walker, U.S. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, and U.S. Senators for Wisconsin Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin to help enlist their help in persuading GE to stay in Waukesha.
The manufacturing plant in question has a long history dating back to 1906 when it was founded as the Waukesha Motor Company. GE purchased Waukesha Motor from Dresser Industries in 2010.
GE separately issued a release in which the company explains that it made the decision to build this new facility in Canada in order to access additional support from the country’s export credit agency, Export Development Canada. EDC actively supports global expansion for manufacturers based in Canada, supporting over 7,000 customers in close to 200 countries last year.
GE has been seeking support from export credit agencies around the world after the authorization for the U.S. Export-Import Bank lapsed on July 1. Earlier this month, GE Power & Water announced plans to move production and 500 jobs to France, Hungary and China.
GE Aviation announced plans to Invest $400 million to create a turboprop engine development, test and production operation in Europe with 500 to 1,000 new jobs after signing an agreement with France’s export credit agency COFACE.
GE also recently signed an agreement with the UK Export Finance (UKEF) to access $12 billion in export credit financing for both confirmed and potential orders that could create as many as 1,000 jobs in the U.K.
John Rice, Vice Chairman, GE, said in the release that “We know these announcements will have regrettable impact not only on our employees but on the hundreds of U.S. suppliers we work with that cannot move their facilities, but we cannot walk away from our customers.”