MEXICO CITY Mexican steel association Canacero has once again called for an update of the countrys trade defense laws to protect investments planned by local steelmakers.
Investments in the sector are expected to total $11 billion from 2013 to 2017, but "unfair competition and subsequent market instability threaten the national investment program," Canacero president Alonso Ancira Elizondo said in a recent meeting with legislators.
The association has repeated its request to the Mexican government for effective legislation on international trade to allow it to respond promptly to unfair trade practices.
"The lack of response to this issue and open borders have left the domestic steel industry at the mercy of unfair competition," Elizondo said.
Steel imports from outside the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) region to Mexico more than doubled last year vs. 2011 levels. At the same time, Mexican crude steel output decreased 2 percent and domestic steel prices fell 30 percent, according to Elizondo.
Elizondo, who is also president of integrated steelmaker Altos Hornos de Mexico SAB de CV (Ahmsa), urged the government to adopt safeguards to control steel imports, mainly from countries outside the Nafta region.
Economic changes already implemented by Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexicos new president, "are putting the country on the road to boost its development in the long term," he said.
However, these changes "must be accompanied by a modernization of the legal rules governing manufacturing activities and the international trade between them," Elizondo added.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.