Photo: Mexican economy
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto pledged “to develop more domestic industry” as a means of boosting incomes and spurring economic growth.
“That’s the route ... we’ll keep promoting and fostering, and I’m sure that over the next few years Mexico’s future will be brighter” and there will be “more opportunities for all Mexicans,” he said.
The head of state made his remarks during the inauguration Thursday of a new Steckel plate line at steelmaker Altos Hornos de Mexico’s massive plant in Monclova, a city in the northern state of Coahuila.
That newly inaugurated facility is the main productive unit of the so-called Phoenix Project, a $2.3 billion investment program carried out over the past four years and aimed at boosting the company’s productive capacity by more than 1 million tons of steel annually.
The new productive units will lead to the creation of nearly 3,000 direct jobs and 16,000 indirect jobs, Peña Nieto said.
The free-trade agreements Mexico has signed with 44 countries have given the country the chance to demonstrate how capable it is, he added.
In engineering and other areas of the economy, “we really want to create the right framework so that Mexico can show the world its capabilities and talent,” the president said.
According to Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s domestic industry currently imports “650,000 tons of steel” but that number will fall thanks to the facilities inaugurated Thursday.
“A significant part of that deficit, 400,000 tons, will be able to be supplied locally thanks to the Phoenix Project,” he said.
For his part, Altos Hornos de Mexico Chairman Alonso Ancira Elizondo said “steel moves the world” and that developed countries therefore nearly always boasted a strong steel-making industry.
Ancira, who also is president of the National Iron and Steel Industry Chamber, said Mexico’s steel sector would invest “$12 billion over the next four years” to expand, create more employment and supply the automobile industry, which currently imports all the steel it uses.