MISSION, RGV – Some of the proposals being made within the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement are unfair to Mexico, says Luis Aguirre Lang, president of INDEX Nacional.

While the renegotiation of NAFTA continues, Aguirre said one of the proposed changes to the agreement impacts the rules of origin for materials used in the production of auto vehicles.

Aguirre said the proposal is to increase materials used from the United States, Canada and Mexico from 62.5 percent to 85 percent. And of this, 50 percent must come from the United States.

“The three countries can do important things and be a very good player in the whole consumer market if we work together. But, under these conditions it is not fair and it’s not possible,” Aguirre said. “I agree to move in that direction and generate the majority of the benefits for the three countries instead of sharing that income with the Asian region. But, we need to work on that part to develop more of the secondary manufacturing processes in our three countries to generate a competitive market for that supply chain.”

Rules of origin provide the basis for customs officials to make determinations about which goods are entitled preferential tariff treatment under the NAFTA. …

Aguirre spoke at the Cimarron Club in Mission this past Tuesday, Feb. 20, at a breakfast event hosted by INDEX Reynosa.

One adjustment Aguirre wants to pursue in Mexico to benefit the NAFTA region is to work more with local suppliers for the components used to create electronic goods. Currently, he says about 70 percent of the value of the products Mexico manufactures come from Asian markets.

“This gives us an important guideline [saying] we are not doing a good job in developing a local supplier in the NAFTA region,” Aguirre said. “We need to increase the investments in those technologies. The technology used to manufacture electronic parts is very expensive and the reason why those exports come from Asia.”

Aguirre told the Rio Grande Guardian in the event Mexico does not get a good deal with NAFTA, then the country needs to look for other options in order to get its products to market. In Chile in March, Mexico will sign up as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)–a trade and investment agreement with 12 countries including Australia, Canada and Japan.

“I think it’s good news for Japan to continue working on the TPP agreement without the United States because it creates some good pressure for the NAFTA renegotiations because this represents an important market for our countries too,” Aguirre said.

INDEX Nacional is responsible for over 6,000 maquila plants in Mexico. These plants create nearly three million direct jobs and over 7.5 million indirect jobs. As noted in a previous article by the Rio Grande Guardian, this makes INDEX the largest trade association for the maquiladora industry in Mexico.

Aguirre said the general assembly of the INDEX Nacional Council approved a strategic plan for 2018-2019 that includes five main goals. Aguirre says he is trying to generate the right communication to the membership across the country in the 21 regional associations.

The strategic plan will play a crucial role in how INDEX Nacional will contribute to the economy, he said.

“About 60 percent of the total exportations of the country are generated in this industrial sector so the economic contribution is very important,” Aguirre said. “We are paying more than 50 percent of the average for salaries in the manufacturing sector in Mexico. We also have other important activities in sustainability, the environment and social responsibility that we are generating as a cross-functionality of our industrial sector in Mexico that our people need to know about.”