MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican manufacturing exports will grow by at least 5 percent in 2008, despite an economic downturn in the U.S., their largest market, according to a group that represents the majority of the country's manufacture-for-export plants.
Members of the National Council of the Maquiladora Export Industry — which represents 84 percent of Mexico's export manufacturing industry — exported US$168.9 million (euro114 million) between January and November of 2007, a 6.9 percent increase over the same period in 2006, statistics released by the council show.
''We aren't as optimistic this year, but we are still aiming for at least 5 percent,'' organization president Cesar Castro told a news conference.
''The U.S. is the most important factor that could affect us,'' he said, referring to the rising risk of recession north of the border, as the U.S. economy slows on a steep slump in housing and spreading credit crisis.
Higher taxes, increasing energy costs, and a potential appreciation of the peso relative to the dollar also could affect Mexican exports negatively, Castro said.
''We will have to see what happens in the first quarter to estimate how the industry is operating,'' he said. ''We will have a better idea by February.''