The US maintains its tariff-driven position against the rest of the world, while the industry pleads with President Donald Trump to rethink its position on the matter. Meanwhile, NAFTA talks are expected to resume soon, although Trump is once again pushing for bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico.

President Enrique Peña Nieto’s cabinet is still in charge of the negotiation but President-Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is already getting involved in the process, having met with Trump and participating in Canada’s Chief Negotiator Chrystia Freeland’s next conversation with Peña Nieto.

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Trade and Tariffs

After tariff retaliations from the EU, Mexico, Canada, China and Turkey, the US is filing a complaint to the WTO appealing the illegality of these measures. “US tariffs are legal and justified by the US’ Constitution and international trade laws,” says Robert Lighthizer, US Trade Representative.

Potential tariffs on vehicle imports established by the US under national security concerns could cost the country 714,000 jobs and an increment in vehicle costs of 12.5 percent, according to the Center for Automotive Research.

Car manufacturers have appealed once more to the US government to close the investigation on national security bases through an official letter. The US Trade Department held hearings with industry representatives on Thursday and Friday as part of the process.

Moves and Countermoves

Although Minister of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo remains optimistic about reaching an agreement on NAFTA by the end of August, Trump once again says an individual agreement with Mexico and then with Canada could be a better alternative.

Canada has already dismissed these statements, saying Trump has already threatened that before. In the meantime, Chrystia Freeland has scheduled a meeting with the Peña Nieto administration in which AMLO will participate.

State Development

Despite trade uncertainty, Puebla receives new investment and closes deals with eight different providers for Audi’s operations in San José Chiapa.

Growing automotive operations and technology implementation opens the door to more 3D printing processes, says Carlos Ramírez, Regional Manager of Stratasys Latin America. Meanwhile, GE projects the creation of the first additive manufacturing consortium in the country, possibly established in Queretaro.

Don’t forget to follow us on twitter at @mexautomotive and @mexautomotriz for the latest industry news.

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