High electricity prices are restricting the competitiveness of Mexico's plastics industry and complicating an already difficult business environment, the sector's new leader says.
In his first public speech as president of national plastics industry association Anipac, Aldimir Torres Arenas, elected Sept. 3, said the issue is one of the many challenges facing manufacturing.
"We are living in uncertain times and the situation is complex," he told delegates attending Anipac's annual congress, held this year in Los Cabos, northwest Mexico, Sept. 7-9.
"Plastics in particular faces one of the worst situations in its history. It finds itself in the environmental spotlight in most of the planet. We have confronted aggressive actions for many years and emerged virtually unscathed but the battle today is more serious."
Problems related to energy, politics, trade, public security and the environment are among those Torres and his team will tackle over the next two years, he said in Spanish, according to an Anipac news release. Anipac stands for Asociación Nacional de Industrias del Plástico A.C.
"In addition to environmental concerns… we face problems of huge relevance in our [home] market," he added. "Mexico, as is well known, does not offer competitive advantages to national manufacturers, particularly where the cost of energy is concerned."
Mexico's manufacturing sector pays 25 percent more for its electricity than its counterparts in the United States and Canada, according to environment and sustainable energy specialists.
This is despite the country's 2013 energy reform, which, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), "has brought an end to long-standing monopolies, opening competition in all aspects of oil and gas supply and power generation."
Mexicans elected Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a populist, as their president in July. He will succeed the conservative Enrique Peña Nieto on Dec. 1.
Spiraling criminality in Mexico and international trade hiccups are other headaches, Torres said, adding that "not only the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement but the trade dispute between the United States and China" are disquieting.
"Our country has the productive, technological, innovative and benchmark infrastructure that different markets require," Torres added. "Our people's capacity and creativity are renowned all over the world. Today more than ever, we need to believe in ourselves, in our products … in our plastic."