Borderlands: US-Mexico trade faces hurdles; GE cuts 257 jobs at Texas plant
The coronavirus pandemic, introduction of new trade rules and confusion in Mexico have all added uncertainty for cross-border operators using North America’s trade lanes.
“Nobody was thinking about the pandemic when they were creating the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA),” said Nelson Balido, an international trade consultant. “Do we have to go back and look at another chapter in the USMCA? I would think, given with all that’s happened with the coronavirus.”
Balido is the managing principal at Balido and Associates, chairman of the independent nonprofit Border Commerce and Security Council, and a former member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, a group that provides advice to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Balido said one of the important issues not addressed in the USMCA is the definition of essential workers or essential industries during pandemics or natural disasters.
“There hasn’t been a synergy on or an agreement on what is an essential business. What we see as an essential business in the United States, [Mexican President Manuel] Obrador will tell you ‘I don’t know what is essential,’ and that’s a problem,” Balido said. “There is no synergy between Mexico and the U.S., there’s no synergy between [Mexico’s] federal government and state governments.”
U.S. industries that rely heavily on Mexico for the manufacturing of mechanical parts — such as parts for aerospace, automotive, refrigeration and HVAC — were affected when Obrador declared a national health emergency and shutdown of all nonessential businesses on March 30.
Many have criticized Obrador and his cabinet over confusion created by conflicting messages over when businesses can reopen. Some automotive companies restarted their factories in Mexico on Monday, with others planning to open later in the month.
Balido said the confusion has led to disruptions in supply chains that could not only affect a company’s bottom line, but could lead to people not receiving vital medical equipment in some cases.
Read full article: https://www.freightwaves.com/news/borderlands-us-mexico-cross-border-trade-faces-hurdles-general-electric-cuts-257-jobs-at-texas-plant