Department of Commerce opposes "protectionist" Mexican wheel policy

June 17, 2003

The United States Department of Commerce is protesting pending legislative action in Mexico that would make it difficult for American wheel manufacturers to ship rims into the country.

Feds have requested that Mexico "seriously consider comments" submitted on behalf of the U.S. wheel industry by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) earlier this year regarding the legislation, which would require wheel manufacturers to put labels on rims with instructions in Spanish, in addition to English, and introduces new criteria for load-carrying capacities.

The legislation "has been introduced by the Mexican government to keep out imports," says Linda Spencer, SEMA director of international and government relations. "It's not based on any need."

SEMA estimates the aftermarket wheel market in Mexico totals $18 million per year.

"The Mexican market is not that large," says Spencer. American manufacturers "aren't going to make a whole new set of wheels just for Mexico.

"That's why the U.S. government has come out in support" of SEMA's protests.