| MEXICO CITY, March 29
MEXICO CITY, March 29 Mexico's states are
turning to Asia and beyond as some U.S. companies put investment
plans on hold south of the border following President Donald
Trump's calls to bring jobs back home.
A delegation of three Mexican state leaders, headed by the
National Confederation of Governors (Conago), traveled to China
this week to meet with business leaders and discuss investment
"Conago is developing an agenda with China's provinces to
build investment projects in our country," Conago tweeted on
Wednesday. "China and Conago agree on building bridges for
business, not walls."
Fears of a hit to foreign investment ran high when Ford
Motor Co canceled a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico's central
state of San Luis Potosi in January.
Trump, who had railed against U.S. manufacturers investing
in Mexico, hailed the decision as a major victory, but Ford put
it down to declining demand for small cars.
"We're not going to sit here with our arms crossed. We're
going to turn to Asia, like we've been doing. We want the
Chinese to come invest in Hidalgo," state Governor Omar Fayad
said in an interview. "We want the Japanese to invest here."
Fayad was speaking on the sidelines of an event organized by
China's Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Co Ltd (JAC Motors)
and Mexico's Giant Motors, which presented a new
line of passenger vehicles that will be assembled in Mexico.
The Hidalgo government is also reaching out to European,
Canadian, South American and Middle Eastern companies, and
expects to announce several more investments this year, he said.
Fayad said the Hidalgo investment plans of some U.S.
companies, which he declined to name, had recently been
suspended indefinitely. "Obviously other countries are seeing
this as an opportunity in Mexico," he said.
In February, JAC Motors and Giant Motors, along with
distributor Chori Co Ltd, said they would invest some
$210 million in an existing plant to build SUVs in Hidalgo.
"Mexico is a strategic market for JAC," David Zhang, head of
international markets for JAC, said on the sidelines of the
company's event. "If the products and service are accepted by
customers and there is a lot of market demand of course we will
increase production capacity."
JAC, which aims to produce 10,000 commercial and passenger
vehicles in Mexico over the next three years, will initially
concentrate on selling in the local market, Zhang said.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Richard Chang)