(Adds comment from Mexico’s steel chamber)
By Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein
MEXICO CITY, July 6 (Reuters) - Mexico’s 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 said.
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 increased 23.3 percent in the month, however.
The auto sector accounts for about 30 percent of Mexico’s exports, according to the national statistics institute.
AMIA President Eduardo Solis told a monthly news conference the auto industry was “enormously concerned” about recent lobbying by local steel producers to restrict cheap steel imports from China and other countries.
In June, Mexico imposed tariffs on cold-rolled steel from China, and hot-rolled steel from China, Germany, and France after an anti-dumping investigation.
Solis said that the auto sector has not been affected by the new duties, but he remains attentive to any proposals that could impact the industry’s competitiveness.
Steel imports are a “fundamental component” of vehicles and auto parts, Solis said.
Mexico’s steel chamber, Canacero, said in a statement that it was not looking to affect any other industrial sector.
“(Canacero) demands that dumping be stopped decisively, due to the speed with which it has grown in recent months,” the statement said.
Early last month, steelmaker Altos Hornos de Mexico said it would lay off thousands of workers and cut production because of a steep drop in prices this year. It said the government had been slow to address the increasing number of steel imports at dumping prices.
Reporting by Joanna Zuckerman Bernstein; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Tom Brown