With the coronavirus ravaging supply chains, a group representing U.S. manufacturers have had a discussion with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to maintain and strengthen North America’s existing supply chain so as to provide a sustained and a strong response to the pandemic.
U.S. business lobbies have had talks with Lopez Obrador to label certain industries as “essential” so that health emergency measures aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus in Mexico do not halt key operations on both sides of the border.
“At a time when we need to ramp up the production of personal protective equipment, lifesaving equipment and medicines, we cannot afford to have any of these critical supply chains shut down,” said the National Association of Manufacturers, a group representing U.S. companies, in a letter to the Mexican president.
The economies of the United States, Mexico and Canada, are deeply intertwined following decades of trade under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as well as its recent successor; manufacturers from all three countries are used to moving products and parts seamlessly across borders.
“Our health care sectors depend on the many products that we make — from medicines, sanitation supplies and inputs used to produce respirators and masks to the grains used to make bread and critical parts that ensure trucks can deliver groceries,” said the group.
The Mexican government did not immediately respond to requests for comments.
In the coming weeks, Mexico is expected to enter into a severe stage of the coronavirus and health officials may deem it necessary to shutdown the economy at a time when that of the United States is likely to start opening up.
Last week Lopez Obrador said, automakers in Mexico would be allowed to reopen their operations shortly after plants restart in the United State to avoid supply disruptions.
The lobby group also urged Lopez Obrador to issue guidance on what industries are considered essential and critical, adopting “the U.S. CISA guidance, as a baseline, to the maximum extent possible,” referring to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency.
The U.S. has emerged as the most affected country hit by the coronavirus pandemic with coronavirus deaths topping as high as 30,000. Fatalities have doubled in just a week and set a record single-day increase for the second day in a row.
In comparison, Mexico has registered just 5,399 infections with 406 deaths.