Lego Systems Inc. plans to supply Mexico from its Enfield, Conn., molding plant as tariffs fall under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Lego plans to expand its Enfield plant on a 78-acre site it bought last summer. The firm announced in August that it will build a manufacturing and warehouse facility on the land during 1995-96.
``[Enfield] is our base for North America,'' Lego spokesman David Lafrennie said in a telephone interview. ``This is where our molding capacity is.''
The Enfield facility currently makes building-block toys for the United States and Canada. Lego exports products from Denmark and Switzerland to Mexico, where a local distributor sells them.
Lafrennie could provide no timetable of when the Enfield plant will supply Mexico. He also said details of the manufacturing and warehouse expansion are not finalized. Lego now is building an $11 million, 88,000-square-foot corporate office building in Enfield.
Mexico has great potential for North American toy makers, said Jerry Smith, chairman of the Canadian Toy Manufacturers Association of Kleinburg, Ontario.
``With its 90 million people, it is an untapped market for North American companies,'' Smith said. ``[Mexicans] are unfamiliar with our products because they are not advertised the same way.''
Smith said toy companies that do a lot of manufacturing in China eventually may switch to Mexico to take advantage of low wage rates.
He estimated tariffs on toys going to Mexico at 10-20 percent. Tariffs are scheduled to be phased out during 10 years while NAFTA is implemented.