What’s Driving Chinese Investment into the Mexican Automotive Sector?




On Wednesday, March 13, WITA and the Asia Society Policy Institute hosted a Zoom webinar that looked at trends and policy implications for investment into the Mexican automotive sector by Chinese and other foreign firms. These investments are, in part, a response to U.S. trade policies, specifically the China tariffs and USMCA, but also the tax provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Biden Administration’s efforts to shorten supply chains and bring more manufacturing to North America.

This event was held in partnership with the Asia Society Policy Institute.

Featured Speakers:

Governor Matt Blunt, President, American Automotive Policy Council

Michael Dunne, CEO, ZoZoGo; author of the upcoming book: Humiliation No More: China’s Master Plan to Dominate Electric Car Markets Worldwide

Ilaria Mazzocco, Senior Fellow, Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics, Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Scott Paul, President, Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM); co-author of the paper: Why Chinese Autos Could Be an “Extinction-Level Event” for America’s Auto Industry

Kenneth Smith Ramos, Partner, Agon; former lead Mexican negotiator of the USMCA

Moderator: Wendy Cutler, Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) Washington, DC Office; former Acting Deputy United States Trade Representative


Speaker Biographies:

Governor Matt Blunt is the President of the American Automotive Policy Council and the former governor of Missouri. He was elected Missouri’s 54th governor in 2004, carrying 101 of the state’s 114 counties. As governor, he erased a $1.1 billion budget deficit, cut taxes, enacted lawsuit reform, fostered a business climate that created over 70,000 new jobs, and increased education funding by $1.2 billion.

In 2011, American Automakers appointed Governor Blunt as AAPC’s president, in part due to his leadership as governor of one of the U.S.’s top automotive and component producing states. Since taking the helm for AAPC, Governor Blunt has raised awareness of the significant economic contributions Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company and Stellantis make to our nation’s economy.

Governor Blunt has helped advocate for trade agreements that will allow for the export of more American-made vehicles to foreign markets and trade policies that help grow the U.S. economy as a whole, especially the auto sector and its extensive manufacturing supply chain. On behalf of AAPC’s member companies, he advocated for a 21st century trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada including testimony in the U.S. House and Senate and other trade forums.

Governor Blunt has promoted the advancement of American Automakers in quality, fuel efficiency and innovation. And he has championed allowing for the acceptance of U.S. auto safety standards in foreign export markets.

Governor Blunt graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in History. Upon leaving active duty in 1998, he remained in the Naval Reserve for nearly ten years and was mobilized for six months after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Governor Blunt and his wife Melanie have two sons, William Branch and Brooks.

Michael Dunne is an entrepreneur, author and keynote speaker. In 2018, Dunne founded Dunne Insights to deliver world-class advisory services on global electric and autonomous vehicle markets. Company leaders in the United States, Europe and Asia engage Dunne for expert knowledge, keynote talks and board level briefings.

Wendy Cutler is Vice President at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) and the managing director of the Washington, D.C. office. In these roles, she focuses on leading initiatives that address challenges related to trade, investment, and innovation, as well as women’s empowerment in Asia. She joined ASPI following an illustrious career of nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), where she also served as Acting Deputy U.S. Trade Representative. During her USTR career, she worked on a range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral trade negotiations and initiatives, including the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, U.S.-China negotiations, and the WTO Financial Services negotiations. She has published a series of ASPI papers on the Asian trade landscape and serves as a regular media commentator on trade and investment developments in Asia and the world. 

Ilaria Mazzocco is a Senior Fellow with the Trustee Chair in Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Prior to joining CSIS, she was a senior research associate at the Paulson Institute, where she led research on Chinese climate and energy policy for Macropolo, the institute’s think tank. She holds a PhD from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where her dissertation investigated Chinese industrial policy by focusing on electric vehicle promotion efforts and the role of local governments. She also holds master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins SAIS and Central European University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from Bard College.

Scott Paul is President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), a partnership established in 2007 by some of America’s leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers union. Scott and AAM have worked to make American manufacturing and “Made in America” top-of-mind concerns for voters and our national leaders through effective advocacy, policy development, and data-driven research.

Scott is a sought-after expert on trade and manufacturing matters, testifying before numerous congressional committees and penning op-eds for The New York Times and other leading publications. He authored a chapter in the 2013 book ​ReMaking America and has written extensively about Alexander Hamilton’s role in forming U.S. national economic policy. Scott also hosts the The Manufacturing Report podcast.

Scott is the past board chair of the National Skills Coalition and sits on the Board of Visitors of the Political Science Department at the Pennsylvania State University. He also is on the Advisory Board of Indiana University’s Manufacturing Policy Initiative.

Scott earned a B.A. in Foreign Service and International Politics from Penn State and an M.A. with honors in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Raised in the small town of Rensselaer, Indiana, he currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area with his family.

Kenneth Smith Ramos is Partner at Agon. He focuses on helping international clients to identify trade and foreign direct investment opportunities derived from the new generation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that Mexico has negotiated, such as CPTPP, the MX-EU FTA, and the NAFTA/USMCA. Ken also advises clients who face trade barriers and assists them in developing strategies to obtain or expand access into key international markets, including Mexico.

Prior to joining Agon, Ken served as Mexico´s Chief Negotiator for the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that led to the signing of the USMCA. He has been an integral part of Mexico’s negotiating team representing several government agencies, and began his career with the team negotiating the NAFTA in 1992.

Ken holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Georgetown University, and a Master’s degree in International Economics from Johns Hopkins, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).