For a moment, it seemed Mexico would end its losing streak in light-vehicle sales. This, however, was only the result of a change in statistical reporting. AMDA forecasts a sustained drop in sales numbers for 2019, which would lead the country to results similar to those of 2015. Still, not everything is bad news. The shadow of a trade war still looms over the world but experts think this could be positive for Mexico’s future.
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Óscar Albin, Executive President of INA, announces Mexico could become the fourth-largest auto-parts producer by the end of 2020. Among the reasons, Albin highlights the trade war between the US and China, which has already forced Chinese suppliers to look for new manufacturing destinations.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also sees a trade war as something beneficial for Mexico, saying the country’s exports could increase by 5.9 percent.
After 19 months of free fall, light-vehicle sales registered an increase of 1.9 percent in January 2019 compared to the same month in 2018. Recovery, however, was only due to changes in GM’s statistical recordings. According to Teresa Cid, PR and Communications Director of GM de México, the company is now reporting to INEGI the number of cars delivered to clients instead of cars billed, which explains the brand’s increase in reported sales of over 100 percent.
During his State of the Union address, US President Donald Trump touted the benefits USMCA would bring to US workers, rectifying NAFTA’s “historic blunder” that allowed jobs to move to Mexico. “(USMCA will) deliver for American workers like they haven’t had delivered to for a long time,” he said.
Meanwhile, GM advances with its restructuration plans, including a halt of operations at four plants in the US and one in Canada. Backed by union Unifor, Canadian workers continue to protest against the closing at Oshawa and they have now received support from Unifor’s workers at Lear plant in Whitby, Ontario.
After the brief peace brought by the signing of USMCA, the US is once again threatening Mexico with new tariffs. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer warned Mexican senators about potential unilateral tariffs should Mexico fail to comply with labor and environmental conditions established in the new treaty.