PUERTO VALLARTA, MX - In Mexico, there is an undeniable link between trucking and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The nation is now the eighth-largest producer of trucks in the world; the fourth-largest exporter of the vehicles. And related exports now represent 6.3% of the country's Gross Domestic Product, says Flavio Rivera, president and Chief Executive Officer of Daimler Trucks Mexico.
The nation's manufacturing facilities produced 191,000 heavy duty vehicles in 2015 alone, with 151,000 built in 2016. Daimler itself has plants in Santiago Tianguistenco, State of Mexico, and Santillo, Coahuila.
Manufacturing in general has been bolstered by free trade agreements with 46 countries, and 80% of available freight now moves by truck as well. Indeed, gone are the days when oil exports dominated the domestic economy.
"The presence of the trucking industry in Mexico has been gaining ground," Rivera said, during a broad-ranging discussion with industry media in Puerto Vallarta. "All those [manufactured] goods are absolutely moving by trucks."
Still, Daimler is offering no official comment about ongoing negotiations around the all-important trade deal. The public focus is on business as usual. "We are continuing producing trucks. We are continuing operating efficient factories," said Rivera. "The manufacturing plants today are in very good shape. Very modern."