MEXICO CITY: Mexico’s government on Tuesday lamented Ford’s decision to scrap a new plant project following criticism from US President-elect Donald Trump and said the company would pay back any expenses.
Ford’s decision to cancel the $1.6 billion investment in the state of San Luis Potosi is a big blow to Mexico, which has been one of the main targets of Trump’s protectionist rhetoric.
“The Mexican government regrets the decision of the Ford Motor Company to cancel the investment project in San Luis Potosi and it has assured the return by the company of any expenditures made by the state government to facilitate this investment,” the statement said.
Ford said it would instead invest $700 million over the next four years to expand its Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan to build electric and self-driving vehicles.
The Mexican peso, which has fallen since Trump’s election, dropped by 1.41% following Ford’s announcement.
Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said the government was notified by Ford about its decision only “minutes” before it was made public. Trump, who takes office on January 20, has slammed US firms for moving jobs to Mexico and has vowed to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Earlier, US automaker General Motors became the latest multinational to end up in Trump’s line of fire- via Twitter as usual-with the president-elect threatening to impose a tariff on GM’s imports of a small number of Mexican-made Chevy Cruze cars to the US.
But Guajardo downplayed concerns that other US companies might follow Ford’s lead.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2017.