The future has already reached the commercial relationship between Mexico and the United States. There is a clash between the governments of both countries.
The bone of contention is the evolution of the car market. In the US, the bet is on the production of electric cars, made in the United States. In Mexico, the compass seems lost. The Mexican government does not seem to see that the world is changing and that the bet is on clean energy and in the specific case of the automotive industry it is on the transit from gasoline to electricity.
But that’s the reality, not just in the United States. Also in Europe and other parts of the world. And in the US the aggravating factor is that government policy seeks to support the production of electric cars, built in that country.
In Mexico, the López Obrador government is determined to produce its own gasoline and stop exporting oil. Although he denies it, national policy goes against clean energy and is committed to fossil fuels.
The objective, the President of the Republic has openly stated and endorsed by the highest government officials in the energy sector, is a refining model.
In the United States, with notable energy advantages in oil and natural gas production, they have already seen that what is coming is the operation of cars with electricity. In Mexico, the automotive industry had been developing with great dynamism. With investments from different countries, Mexico climbed to the top for its production and export of cars.
It became one of the most important sources of currency generation. But that engine of the economy seems to be beginning to “rattle”, due to many external factors, but also internal ones.
The first threat came from President Donald Trump and his Make America Great Again policy which has been translated into Spanish as: Let’s Make America Great Again. That would later lead to an even more protectionist policy, under the slogan of American purchase and American contracts.
There was also pressure for US plants to return to that country. The case of the cancellation of the construction of a Ford plant in which it would invest 1,600 million dollars in San Luis Potosí was very popular.
With the pandemic and the interruption of the microchip shortage, the situation worsened. The picture has become more murky with the interpretation of the rules of origin in the automotive industry of the government of President Joe Biden, which differs from that of Mexico and Canada.
And now with the US president’s tax credit scheme for the manufacture of electric cars made in the United States. The respective proposal will be voted on on December 13 by the United States Senate. It is a very strong threat to Mexico.
The Mexican government has already set off the alarm lights. Economy Secretary Tatiana Clouthier warned that she will take all kinds of retaliation, including tariffs, if the proposal that is part of the Build Back Better Act of Biden is approved in the Congress of that country.
You could even resort to another consultation process in the context of the T-MEC that could lead to a panel of disputes. The governments of Mexico and Canada allege that this US policy is discriminatory and protectionist.
However, it is part of an internal policy that the government of that country has the right to apply in its own country. Perhaps the best thing would be for Mexico to seek to join the North American bloc and change its perspective on clean energy and produce more electric vehicles to export to the US rather than face commercial lawsuits. Or not?. We will see.
Rich and powerful
He has worked non-stop in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the Internet, in the last 31 years he has specialized in business, finance and economics. He is one of the three hosts of the Alebrijes, Águila o Sol program, a program specialized in economic issues that is broadcast on Foro TV.