USMCA and the automotive industry in Mexico

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2021)


With few exceptions (1), in the multiple published works (2) on the automotive industry (AI) installed in Mexico, it has been insisted, and recently to a greater extent, that Mexico has played an increasingly important role in AI world, justifying this assertion that "we are", at the world level, the seventh country in production and the fourth in export. We could call this the “mainstream approach”.

In my presentations at GERPISA, and in the book chapters I have published on AI, I have repeatedly commented that conceptualizing Mexico as a manufacturer or exporter hides the true meaning of the relations of production, export and benefits that these bring facts. In other words, the vehicle and auto parts factories installed in our country are foreign, 100 percent in the case of assembler, and more than 70 percent in the case of auto parts.

If this different conception is taken into account, both the NAFTA analysis, as well as the USMCA discussions and its final agreement, differ radically from the results shown by multiple analysts on the present and future of AI in Mexico and, notably, on the USMCA. We will call this a "critical approach."

Based on this hypothesis, the arguments of each side will be presented to show why the critical position explains, with a greater degree of certainty, what NAFTA represented for the country (1994-2020), and for vehicle and auto parts manufacturers, which is what the mainstream finally shows; likewise, how the negotiations and the results of the USMCA should be interpreted, and what will be the future of AI in Mexico.


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