[The Department of ] Economy to inhibit steel with US 232 and Acevedo rejects mechanism

Opinion Article published in El Economista, Opinión / Nombres, Nombres y… Nombres [Opinion / Names, Names and … Names] Section, by Alberto Aguilar.
Read the note in its original source

In the context of the US electoral contest, in which nothing is guaranteed for Donald Trump, Mexico continues to be a good target in the attempt to win voters.

Beyond the USMCA, our agricultural exports and labor compliance are weak links.

The steel industry is also vulnerable. The Department of Economy, headed by Graciela Márquez, is aware of this and has been negotiating for weeks with Robert Lighthizer’s USTR to ratify the non-application of Section 232 to Mexican steel, a threat that still hangs over our head.

This effort is led by Luz María de la Mora , undersecretary of Foreign Trade and the possibility of receiving news soon is not ruled out. However, there is anxiety within Máximo Vedoya’s Canacero (Mexican Chamber of the Iron and Steel Industry) because there is no coordination within the Department of Economy and the undersecretary of Industry, Ernesto Acevedo, has a different agenda. It so happens that the official is opposed to the implementation of an access mechanism for steel exports, a requirement demanded by the US in order not to apply Section 232.

The official has expressed to the industry that each country must export whatever it decides. The problem is that, with the collapse of the construction industry in our country, rebar exports to the US have skyrocketed. If we were formerly talking about 10,000 tons per month, we are now 4 or 5 times above that.

As you can imagine, this has already been frowned upon by some people in the US, and just when De la Mora had an agreement almost ready, friendly fire from the same agency could detonate protectionist penalizations against Mexico with consequences for the steel industry and those companies which have sought to remain within their historic amounts of exports. Hard to understand.

The hand of the State in Radiópolis and Prisa will put up a fight

Since the arrival of Carlos Cabal Peniche and Alejandro del Valle, also a businessman from Tabasco, both to Interjet and Radiópolis at the side of Miguel Alemán Velasco was made known, bets from the business point of view did not look promising. The airline faces serious difficulties and the radio station group is not very profitable, particularly in the current situation. In the case of this company, the abovementioned investors acquired 50% of the capital from Emilio Azcárraga’s Televisa, knowing that Prisa was in charge of the editorial agenda. However, it has already become known that a board meeting was held this Tuesday and that the newcomers took control. The legal argument is that Prisa should never have had its current share of stock since this constitutes a violation of the IED Law. Alemán and his allies supposedly have the full support of Andrés Manuel López Obrador´s government. The closeness between the politician from Veracruz and the one from Tabasco is known, and now, having Ignacio Carral Kramer as director instead of Francisco Cabañas, who was linked to Prisa and was dismissed from his position, a change in the journalistic line is coming, The weak link, for obvious reasons, is Carlos Loret de Mola, although it is claimed that Prisa will put up a fight. A sensitive situation, no matter how you look at it.

Napo headcount, Covid-19 and from the JFCA

As a consequence of the Labor Reform, unions must validate their right to handle the collective bargaining agreement and, therefore, there are multiple struggles coming in this context, as well as people like Napoleón Gómez Urrutia who is fighting in all fronts. The day before yesterday, Napoleón Gómez Urrutia informed about the headcount to be conducted today at the Hermosillo plant of the Swiss cement company, Holcim, a firm headed by Jaime Hill Tinoco. The procedure was defined by the Federal Conciliation and Arbitration Board, presided by María Eugenia Navarrete. The pressure from US unions helped. The truth is that the timing for this exercise is questionable, given the pandemic and the risk to the vulnerable workers who will have to vote. The point is to tear the position away from the Cement Industry Workers’ Union, led by Felipe Sosa and which is part of the CTM. There are complaints about the purchase of votes, like in the old times, by the group led by Napoléon Gómez Urrutia, who is also a senator.