Trade

Policy and Legal

NAM Fights to Keep Manufacturers Open

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Amid rising caseloads of COVID-19, we will likely see increasing efforts to shut down businesses. But given how crucial manufacturing is to fighting the virus and maintaining our economy, the NAM is working to ensure that manufacturers can keep operating and that the North American supply chain will remain robust.

Why it matters: Manufacturers in the United States are providing frontline health care workers with the resources they need to protect and save lives—and providing daily essentials to citizens across North America. Suppliers in Mexico are key to that effort. A shutdown of facilities in either country could damage not only the ongoing economic recovery, but also the supply chain for critical goods as well as undermine the global response to COVID-19. 

A stronger connection: With the ratification of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, the relationship between North American countries is more important than ever. Each day last year, $2.3 billion worth of manufactured goods crossed the U.S.–Mexican–Canadian borders. And today, Mexico and Canada purchase more from the U.S. than our next 11 trading partners combined.

Past is precedent: Back in the spring, in the midst of nationwide shutdowns in Mexico, the NAM sent a letter to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador from 326 manufacturing executives. It urged Mexico to recognize and reciprocate the guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency—which designated manufacturing as essential and critical.

  • Thanks to the NAM’s efforts, Mexico designated manufacturing sectors as essential, including the automotive, aerospace, mining and construction sectors, and allowed them to reopen.
  • Then, when the Mexican government pushed back the planned reopening date for a number of manufacturing sectors from May 18 to June 1, the NAM immediately stepped in. Just 24 hours later, Mexico’s Ministry of Health reversed course to allow these sectors to restart operations before June 1 if health security protocol processes had been established and approved before that date.

What we’re doing now: The NAM has remained in contact with leaders and health officials across North America to ensure that manufacturers continue to have the tools and support they need to stay open and produce essential goods for our citizens.

The last word: “Manufacturers across North America are central to critical infrastructure industries and essential services,” said NAM Senior Director of International Economic Affairs Ken Monahan. “We are committed to delivering the products and services that make it possible for all of our countries to respond to COVID-19 and deliver a stronger, more prosperous future.”

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