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Mexican industry calling for action against ‘unfair’ trade

Keywords: Tags  Mexico, steel, Rodrigo Alpizar Vallejo, Felipe Calderón, Canacero, Rodrigo Alonso

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s transformation industries want the country’s new government under President Enrique Peña Nieto to create "a new legal department" that is "powerful" and "has the resources to face (up to) unfair trade practices," according to an executive with the country’s Chamber of Transformation Industries (Canacintra).

The "unfair practices" of some Asian and European countries have become a bigger problem over the past years, mainly because Mexico’s former government unilaterally reduced tariffs, Rodrigo Alpizar Vallejo, Canacintra’s vice president for the metal-mechanical sector, told AMM sister publication Steel First.

The new government must create "a new legal department as part of the International Trade Practices Unit (UPCI) of the Mexican Secretariat of Economy," he said., noting that dumping investigations "require at least one or two years, and (even) when there is a resolution ... the damage is already done and is irreversible."

Alpizar Vallejo urged the government to introduce a non-tariff method for stopping the import of low-quality steel products.

Steel product imports rose 45.7 percent to 6.9 million tonnes in the first eight months of 2012 compared with the same period last year, according to Mexican national steel association Canacero.

Almost one-third of the imports came from five countries outside the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta): Russia, South Korea, China, Ukraine and Brazil.

"We must protect our Nafta market, increase our domestic market and do all (we can) to prevent the entry of products with dumping prices," Alpizar Vallejo said.

Under former president Felipe Calderón, the government implemented policies that "caused damage" to the industry, he said. Those policies, such as unilateral tariff reductions, had a negative effect on the Mexican manufacturing sector.

"This was one of the issues that caused more discomfort and damage to the industry and was an action taken without assessing the consequences," he said.

Alpizar Vallejo said the new government should enact a new legislation "under the premise that public works carried out in our country should have a minimum local content of 60 percent, similar to (legislation in) the United States."

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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