Monday, June 24, 2024

Border zone factories plan to resume operations in May

Factories in five of Mexico’s six northern border states are planning to reopen in May even though it is not yet known whether the federal government will have lifted the restrictions that forced them to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 3,700 manufacturing companies have factories in northern border states, employing around 1.8 million people, according to data from the national statistics institute Inegi.

Those in Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas plan to resume operations in the coming weeks.

Gerardo Vázquez Falcón, president of the National Council of the Maquiladora Industry in Sonora, told the newspaper Milenio that the plan is to have all factories in the state operating by June 1.

He said that some factories will reopen as soon as next Monday, explaining that those in the automotive sector will resume operations first followed by those in the aerospace and electronics sectors.

About 85% of manufacturers in Sonora export their products to the United States, where productive sectors have not halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) in that country wrote to President López Obrador this week, urging him to reconsider which businesses are considered essential.

Allowing factories to reopen in Mexico will help ensure that disruptions to the North American supply chain are minimized, the NAM said.

López Obrador said Thursday that he expected there would be an agreement “in due course” allowing factories to reopen but he didn’t offer a specific timeframe.

Nevertheless, Salvador Díaz González, president of the Otay de Mesa Industry Association in Tijuana, said that factories there were planning to reopen on May 4.

On the other side of the country in Tamaulipas, Julio Almanza Armas, an import/export business owner in the border city of Matamoros, said that factories are looking at reopening on May 18. Activity at the state’s ports has declined by 60% due to the closure of factories, he said.

The coronavirus crisis is predicted to take a heavy toll on the Mexican economy, with several financial institutions and international organizations forecasting economic contraction in the range of 5% to 10%.

Source: Milenio (sp), Político (sp) 

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