The grand blueprint of a U.S. auto behemoth has given way to this: clearing up the mess, paying off the bills and getting out of town.
For Mexican officials and global automakers, the dispiriting scene—the site of Ford Motor Co.’s now-scrapped plans to build a $1.6-billion factory in central Mexico—stands as the harbinger of a clouded future. The good times of hefty profits based on cheap Mexican labor and tariff-free exports to the United States may be coming to a crashing halt.
Citing a $60 billion trade deficit with Mexico, President Trump has vowed to renegotiate deals and possibly slap a tax of 20 percent or more on goods imported from Mexico. That would threaten some two decades of steady growth in Mexican manufacturing exports to the United States, spurred by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
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