Ford Motor Company’s cancellation of plans to build a $1.6 billion auto manufacturing plant in San Luis Potosi has sounded alarms throughout Mexico.
Even as the country is being rocked by rowdy nationwide protests against a Jan. 1 gasoline price hike, the Ford news led the front pages of Mexico’s most influential newspapers on Wednesday, and they tied the development directly to President-elect Donald Trump.
“Trump leaves Mexico without 3,600 jobs,” read the headline on El Universal. “Ford’s braking jolts the peso,” said Reforma, referring to the Mexican currency’s nearly 1 percent slump following the news.
“The jobs created in Mexico have contributed to maintaining manufacturing jobs in the United States which otherwise would have disappeared in the face of Asian competition,” the Mexico Economy Department said.
Mexicans have been nervous about Trump’s tough rhetoric toward their country, including disparaging remarks about immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally and vows to wall off the border and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, upsetting ties with what is by far Mexico’s largest trading partner.
Two weeks before inauguration, the scuttling of the planned Ford factory and Trump’s pressure on General Motors should be a “much-needed wake-up call,” said Mexico analyst Alejandro Hope.