(Adds background, looming NAFTA re-negotiation)
MEXICO CITY May 8 Mexico's auto exports rose
16.1 percent in April compared was the same month a year
earlier, and output was up 3.2 percent, the Mexican Auto
Industry Association (AMIA) said on Monday.
Mexico exported 228,810 vehicles and produced 278,173
vehicles in April, AMIA said.
Auto exports to the United States, Mexico's top trading
partner, were up nearly 20 percent to reach 179,958 units.
Mexico accounts for about a fifth of all vehicle production
in North America.
Total auto exports during the first four months of the year
were up nearly 15 percent compared with the same four-month
period last year, reaching 978,972 units.
Mexican authorities are bracing for a looming re-negotiation
of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the
United States and Canada, as U.S. President Donald Trump has
insisted that a new pact must be more "fair" to American workers
Mexico's booming auto sector has been a clear beneficiary of
NAFTA as a wide range of international automakers have made
Latin America's second biggest economy a key export hub,
attracted by cheap labor costs and free trade accords with
dozens of nations.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by W Simon and Tom