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Mon, Aug 10, 2009 - Page 10 News List

S Korea’s POSCO opens auto sheet plant in Mexico

AP AND AFP , MEXICO CITY AND SEOUL

South Korea’s largest steelmaker POSCO has opened its first overseas automobile sheet plant in Mexico to meet growing demand from carmakers in North America, officials said yesterday.

POSCO’s Mexico CGL plant near Altamira city in Tamaulipas state was inaugurated on Thursday with an annual production capacity of 400,000 tonnes, the South Korean firm said in a statement released here.

“Mexico CGL gives POSCO a stable supply of high-quality steel sheet for Mexico and other regions in [North] America,” POSCO’s chief executive officer Chung Joon-yang said.

POSCO has 40 processing plants in 12 countries outside of South Korea, but the US$250 million venture in Mexico is its first facility making auto sheet overseas.

Mexico exports 77 percent of its automobile production to the US and Canada, POSCO said.

It said Mexico produced 2.1 million cars last year. Volkswagen, Chrysler, General Motors and Nissan are among the multinationals operating there, along with more than 1,000 auto parts companies.

Separately, unionized workers have gone on strike at the ArcelorMittal SA steel plant in Mexico’s Pacific coast port of Lazaro Cardenas.

The plant is one of Mexico’s largest steel facilities and was shuttered by a strike for more than four months in 2006.

The Mine, Metal and Steel Workers Union says that 3,500 union members are on strike at the plant, which employs a total of about 7,000 people.

The union says the strike was launched on Saturday after it made several proposals for a new labor contract to the company that were rejected.

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