(Adds steel comment, export figure)
By Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein
MEXICO CITY, July 6 (Reuters) - Mexico auto production rose 6.7 percent in June to 306,694 units versus the same month last year, the Mexican Auto Industry Association (AMIA) said on Monday.
Auto exports, meanwhile, rose 5.3 percent to 242,720 units, AMIA added.
Car exports to the United States, where nearly three-quarters of Mexico’s cars head, rose 10.3 percent in June compared to the same month last year, and U.S. sales were the main driver of the overall rise in exports. Car exports to Europe rose 23.3 percent in the month.
Nearly a quarter of Mexico’s total exports are from the automotive sector, AMIA president Eduardo Solis said.
Solis said, however, that AMIA is “enormously concerned” about recent lobbying by local steel producers to restrict cheap steel imports from China and other countries as it is a “fundamental component” of vehicles and auto parts.
In June, Mexico imposed tariffs on cold-rolled steel from China, and hot-rolled steel from China, Germany, and France after an antidumping investigation.
Solis said that the auto sector has not been affected by the new duties, but he remains attentive to any proposals that could affect the industry’s competitiveness.
Mexico’s steel chamber, Canacero, could not be immediately reached for comment but has previously emphasized that the industry is facing great challenges and thousands of jobs are at risk.
Last month, Altos Hornos de Mexico (AMSA) said it would lay off thousands of workers and cut production due to a steep drop in prices in recent months. It said that the government had been slow to address the increasing number of steel imports at dumping prices. [ID: nL1N0YP26A] (Reporting by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)