Mexico Says Auto Industry Must Adhere to Plant Suspensions

The Mexican government is working with its counterparts in the U.S. and Canada to come up with a plan to reopen the auto industry, the Economy Ministry said in a statement Friday.

Until then, the auto industry in Mexico and its supply chains must comply with the suspension of activities mandated by the Mexican government, it said.

The three countries are “working to establish criteria, guidelines, protocols and conditions to be observed to successfully allow for a reopening of productive activities in the auto industry in North America,” it said.

In the U.S., some automakers are cautiously coalescing around plans to reopen North American assembly plants early next month following what will be roughly a six-week shutdown for virtually the entire industry due to the coronavirus pandemic. Toyota Motor Corp., Tesla Inc., Hyundai Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG are among the major automakers that have said they intend to resume production in the first week of May.

Volkswagen Mexico could tentatively restart activities on May 18, the automaker said in a statement Friday. The reopening would be “gradual and under the strictest hygiene measures,” it said, adding that it’s important to supply the big regional and international chain that the company is part of.

Mexico said the plan will be made public in the coming days and will recognize that the three countries are comprised of communities with unique sanitary conditions, which will affect how the reopening is envisioned, the statement said.

The industry employs about a million people in Mexico, according to the statement.

“In Mexico, the government will be particularly emphatic in protecting the health of workers, their families and their communities, which is why the competent authorities will ensure the reopening is done in an orderly manner, gradually and cautiously,” it said.

The plan will help Mexico determine how non-essential activities should return to normal, the Ministry said.

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