April 20, 2020

U.S. Industry Calls On Mexico To Broaden Essential Business Designations

With North American companies facing supply disruptions, the U.S. business community has asked Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to expand and clarify Mexico’s definition of what manufacturing businesses are considered essential and therefore can remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to President López Obrador, for example, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said, “At a time when we need to ramp up the production of personal protective equipment, lifesaving equipment and medicines, we cannot afford to have any of these critical supply chains shut down if Mexico does not issue guidance that expands and clarifies the industries that are essential.” NAM asked that Mexico follow the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s guidance on what is considered an essential business. Based on that guidance, essential workers include those necessary for manufacturing personal protective equipment, products needed for medical supply chains, mining, and metals.

The Mexican government ordered the closings of non-essential businesses in March. That order included auto manufacturing plants. Mexico’s definition of “essential” activities only includes businesses tied to health care, food production, and distribution and trucking. Click here to read NAM’s letter.

In related news: as Politico reports, a bipartisan group of 31 U.S. lawmakers has asked the Trump administration to delay implementation of the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement’s (USMCA) automotive rules of origin since automakers now face major supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic. In a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the lawmakers, which include Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Jim Baird (R-Ind.), explained that an extended transition period is needed because the auto industry is currently dealing with regional shutdowns or revamping production lines to manufacture medical equipment.

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