With a manufacturing sector feeling the strain of the covid-19 pandemic, Mexico is nonetheless aiming to boost its automotive industry.

Mexico's Economy Minister Graciela Marquez attends Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador daily news conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico November 14, 2019.
Mexico's Economy Minister Graciela Marquez attends Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador daily news conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico November 14, 2019. (Carlos Jasso / Reuters)

Mexico has spoken to a host of foreign companies, particularly steelmakers, in an effort to lure business from Asia to capitalise on a new North American trade deal, Economy Minister Graciela Marquez said on Monday.

The US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) took effect at the beginning of this month and replaced its quarter-century-old predecessor as the coronavirus pandemic wallops the global economy and international trade.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaced the previous 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which President Donald Trump had labeled a disaster.

"In steel, we see the biggest opportunity," Graciela Marquez, a Harvard-trained economist, told Reuters in an interview. "We want to show these companies the opportunities that open up with this increase in regional content requirements."

Marquez said the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has held talks with foreign steelmakers, including South Korea's POSCO, Japan's Nippon Steel Corp and Mitsubishi Corp and Ternium, about investing in Mexico to produce steel for the auto sector.

This could provide a much-needed boost to Latin America's second largest economy, which saw a contraction of 1.2% in early 2020, which hit manufacturing and service sectors hard.

Source: Reuters