MEXICO CITY -- Mexicos automotive industry today is urging the countrys federal government to postpone using a clause in the North American Free Trade Agreement that could flood the country with more used-car imports in 13 months.
The industrys five major associations representing the interests of suppliers, producers of light- and heavy-duty vehicles and new- and used-vehicle retailers say that between October 2005 and October 2007, 2.3 million used vehicles were imported from the United States.
They were admitted thanks to a decree issued by former President Vicente Fox in late 2005. The vehicles are supposed to be between 10 and 15 years old.
But industry spokesmen claim many imports are much newer, while most others are not checked by Mexican authorities for compliance with safety and emissions standards.
Industry leaders say the situation could get worse on Jan. 1, 2009. Under NAFTA, Mexicans will then be allowed to import secondhand light- and heavy-duty vehicles of up to 10 years of age.
Were proposing deferring the opening (on Jan. 1, 2009) until Mexico has in place the infrastructure to check vehicles emissions and mechanical condition, Cesar Flores, president of the Mexican Automotive Industry Association, told Automotive News on Monday, Dec. 3.
Flores, whose association represents the manufacturers of light vehicles, said the industry wants to be sure that all imported cars and trucks meet the same standards as those set in the United States and Canada.
In other words, Mexico should not allow the importation of wrecks, as is the case today, Flores said. In the future, the importation (of used vehicles) may increase, and the impact on the environment would be felt not only by Mexico but the whole North American region.
Flores said the Mexican automotive industry is calling on its federal government to set precise regulations on safety and emissions standards in a decree and to negotiate with the U.S. and Canadian governments agreements on the issue that would apply to all three NAFTA countries.
In a demonstration of unity rarely seen in Mexico, the presidents of the five major industry associations had scheduled a press conference for this morning to discuss their position.
Earlier today, the Mexican auto dealer association presented a document during the press conference in which it asked the question: What is the point of damaging (Mexicos) formal economy and contributing to the stagnation and shrinking of the internal market by allowing the unchecked importation of used vehicles.
For its part, the national suppliers association, known as INA, stated in another document that Mexico is becoming the automotive garbage dump of the United States of America."
These imports contribute significantly towards a delicate situation that can turn into a crisis because the prevalent fiscal, infrastructural and regulatory conditions not only allow but encourage and facilitate the importation of used vehicles that are in a deplorable state.
The imports have also become a serious source of air contamination and have created a deep rooted phenomenon of tax evasion and corruption.