MEXICO CITY – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Secretary-General Angel Gurria said on Tuesday that Mexico’s automobile industry was strong, but the country should continue diversifying the economy.
“We started 50 years ago with the matter of the cars and now we’ve seen the results,” Gurria said during the presentation of a report on the Mexican economy.
Changes in fiscal policy, the labor force and technology, among other factors, have made Mexico “very competitive,” in the automotive sector, Gurria said.
The OECD secretary-general’s positive comments about the domestic auto industry’s future came a week after the Ford Motor Co. cancelled a large project in Mexico amid threats by President-elect Donald Trump to impose tariffs on automakers like General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota that import Mexican-made vehicles into the United States.
“We are so good because we figured this thing out, we know it, we have trained a specialized labor force and there are integrated work chains,” Gurria, accompanied by Finance Secretary Jose Antonio Meade, said during his presentation at the National Palace.
The Mexican-born economist said, however, that Mexico should continue to diversify its economy, a “constant” request by the OECD for the past two decades.
Gurria said he was in favor of expanding promotion of the tourism industry, as well as increasing the use of technology and improving education to boost productivity.
The OECD secretary-general said he had not spoken with Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, but had talked with some of the incoming U.S. president’s advisers.
On Monday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne said his company might be forced to end production in Mexico if Trump’s future administration imposed tariffs on Mexican vehicle imports.
“It’s possible, if the economic terms imposed by the U.S. administration on anything that comes into the United States that, if they’re sufficiently large that it would make the production of anything in Mexico uneconomical,” Marchionne told reporters at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. “We would have to withdraw. It is quite possible.”