Mexican Pipeline Attacks Threaten Foreign Investment

Gas and oil pipeline explosions this week shut down over 2,000 businesses, costing $200 million per day and threatening Mexico's booming foreign investments.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — An attack on Mexico's gas and oil pipelines this week has shut down more than 2,000 businesses throughout the country at a cost of $200 million per day, an industrial official said Wednesday.
The government warned of threats to robust foreign investment in Mexico, which doubled during the first half of 2007 compared with the same 2006 period.
The impact of six explosions early Monday on a dozen pipelines, all but one carrying natural gas, is greater on business than was initially estimated, said Miguel Maron, president of one of the country's two main manufacturing chambers, on W Radio.
On Tuesday, the day that both Volkswagen AG and Chrysler LLC announced factory shutdowns because of the loss of natural gas, officials estimated business losses at about $100 million a day. Maron raised the estimated losses to $200 million a day on Wednesday.
The business sectors most affected are steel makers, which halted more than 60 percent of their production, and auto, cement, glass and food manufacturers.
Mexican Deputy Economy Secretary Carlos Arce told the government news agency Notimex that the impact the explosions in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz are having on business could threaten the country's foreign investment.
''Investment likes silence, not stridency,'' Arce said. ''Not to mention gas pipeline explosions.''
Direct foreign investment rose in the first half of 2007 to $13.2 billion, a 53 percent jump from the first half of 2006.
The Revolutionary People's Army, or EPR, a secretive Marxist group that killed dozens of police and soldiers during attacks in the late 1990s, claimed responsibility for the explosions in a statement posted to a Web site that has hosted similar communiques from the group in the past.
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