Mexico will join a United States plan to develop the semiconductor industry, which foresees a millionaire investment, both governments announced on Monday during the visit of the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to Mexican territory.
“Mexico takes the word for the offers that the United States has made to us very generously,” said Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard at a press conference with Blinken at the end of a meeting of the High-Level Economic Dialogue (DEAN) between both countries.
Ebrard was referring to an “invitation” that Blinken made earlier to the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, to participate in a program of the US president, Joe Biden.
“Productive and friendly meeting,” highlighted the Mexican ruler on Twitter.
On August 9, Biden signed a law to promote the development and production of semiconductors in the United States through subsidies, research and development for some 52,000 million dollars (mdd), fearing that China will become the dominant power of this sector.
Blinken said the goal is to “develop a much more resilient supply chain for semiconductors,” in which companies like tech giant Intel will work.
According to the Secretary of State, the initiative includes “research, design, assembly” and manufacturing of devices in Mexico.
Global demand for semiconductors soared during the pandemic, sparking a global shortage that hit the United States hard, and was made worse by the closure of Chinese factories due to Covid-19.
For Biden, the development of semiconductors is “the economic competition of the 21st century.”
The head of Economy, Tatiana Clouthier, announced that on Monday next week Mónica Duhem, head of the SE Global Economic Intelligence Unit, will be in California “to work in the semiconductor chain, with an academy that can strengthen the development of the work force”, which has to be able to face the challenges that this sector brings with it.
Clouthier recalled that Mexico and the US have already been working on the issue of semiconductors for a year, working between governments, academia and private initiative on a work path “that allows us to solve problems.”
The lithium gamble
During the meeting with Blinken, López Obrador presented his plan for the exploitation of lithium, a key mineral in the manufacture of electric cars and new technologies, Ebrard commented.
In April, Mexico nationalized this sector, which is still incipient, although the Mexican government assures that there are important deposits in Sonora.
Regarding this plan, Clouthier pointed out that it seeks to work from “lithium extraction to electromobility.”
After that decision by Congress, promoted by López Obrador, the president announced at the end of August that he would open the exploitation of that mineral to private investors and that he had already made progress in talks with Biden on the matter.
Both presidents met in Washington on July 12.
Several of the main car factories such as Ford and Volkswagen are installed in Mexico, which supply the North American market, and require these components to produce increasingly technological vehicles.
According to Ebrard, Mexico’s participation in the development of semiconductors would allow the country “to grow at twice what it is growing today” and reduce poverty, which afflicts almost half of the 126 million Mexicans.
The Mexican Secretary of the Economy, Tatiana Clouthier, stated in turn that Mexico’s participation could be expanded to the area of research.
When asked about the consultations regarding the energy dispute that the United States and Canada requested from Mexico, within the framework of the T-MEC, Ebrard and the Secretary of Commerce of the United States, Gina Raimondo, commented that this was not a central issue in two-way conversation.
With information from AFP and Reuters