Chinese car-maker BAIC, which assembles cars in the Mexican state of Veracruz, said on Friday that it plans to export cars from Mexico to the United States and Canada starting in 2018.
Yang Nanhua, director general of BAIC in Mexico, said the plan would go into action "unless something drastic happens with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)."
The landmark free trade agreement between Mexico, Canada and the United States is currently undergoing a tough re-negotiation process, at the behest of US President Donald Trump.
"We are very confident that Mexico is a market with not only a great sales potential, but also a strategic (hub)," said Yang during a press conference for the 2017 MAPFRE Carshow in Mexico City.
Yang also said that BAIC would bring four new models into Mexico in 2018, including an electric vehicle with a range of up to 200 km. He added that the company is looking to enter the Mexican aeronautical industry.
Tian Jinghai, assistant to the director general of BAIC International Development, told Xinhua that the company intends to offer its products to the Mexican market and to satisfy a broader demand.
"We intend to offer the best products and services to Mexican consumers, as well as provide a better image of Chinese brands in Mexico," said Tian.
Tian also noted that "the Mexican market is a priority," and BAIC also wants to expand its market to the rest of Latin America and North America.
"The US market is very mature and full of competition, as it is the second-largest (automotive) market. For any Chinese automotive company, this represents a great challenge, as well as opportunities, to enter this market. BAIC is no exception," said Tian.
"We are improving our product development and technological offering to meet American rules and laws," Tian added.
BAIC sells its products in countries such as Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Peru and Venezuela. Its production in Mexico is also expected to serve these markets.