German firms in Mexico brace for negative Trump impact: survey

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The vast majority of German companies operating in Mexico expect U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s trade policy to have a negative impact on business, though most still plan to invest in the coming year, a survey showed on Wednesday.

Trump, who takes office on Jan. 20, has sparked worries among businesses with threats to ditch the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico and Canada if he cannot renegotiate it in his homeland’s favor.

He has also threatened to impose hefty tariffs on goods made in Mexico, which sends about 80 percent of its exports to the U.S. marketplace.

In the survey by the German-Mexican chamber of industry and commerce (CAMEXA), 83 percent of companies said they expected Trump’s trade policy to have a negative effect on business.

Still, 62 percent of the companies said they planned to invest in Mexico next year, a decline of 12 percentage points from the 2015 CAMEXA survey.

Germany is Mexico’s biggest trade partner in Europe, and commerce between the two nations was worth $17.5 billion last year, according to Mexican official data.

A total of 120 companies participated in the survey, which took place in the first week of December, CAMEXA said.

Almost 2,000 German firms are present in Mexico, from small and medium-sized businesses to multinationals including Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE, Daimler, BASF and Bayer.

Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by James Dalgleish