Reforms and media spotlight drive Mexico trade mission mania

Lining up to do business with Mexico
They’re lining up to get in here

It may be the hype over the energy and telecom reforms, or the remaining embers of the “Mexican Moment” in the international business media, or even just coincidence, but for some reason Mexico seems to be the target of a trade mission frenzy of sorts this month.  In the context of international power-fretting over crappy emerging market performance, big shots from both the U.K. and the United States brought trade missions to Mexico this month – the same week, even.  While underperforming equity markets in Brazil and Argentina’s tanking currency have sparked wailing and gnashing of teeth among investors in recent weeks, U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg appeared on Mexican TV hailing Mexico’s reforms and suggesting the country could eventually outstrip Brazil as an economic power.  A day later, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker addressed a room full of business leaders (and your humble servant) in Mexico City, lauding the accomplishments of NAFTA and laying on the love for “our dear friend Mexico” thicker than a bowl of mole poblano.  This morning, we learned that Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, California, will be bringing a mission of his own to Mexico within a few weeks.

As we have noted before, we became accustomed to being treated as an economic charwoman while the international business media clambered over one another begging Brazil for a kiss.  But as we also have noted, headaches for Brazil, or any other Latin American country, don’t bring any benefit to Mexico in the long run.  We’re delighted to have the momentary attention of some heavy hitters, and we hope others such as France, Germany and Japan will follow.  If they see fit to drop by Colombia (as the U.K. delegation did), Peru or Chile while they’re in the Latin American neighborhood, that’s fine by us as well.

Here’s a summary of the three missions mentioned above.  Click on the links for official press releases:

U.K. mission: February 4 – 5, 2014

  • Led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg
  • Includes Trade & Investment Minister, Mexico Trade Envoy and 40 business leaders
  • Focus sectors include financial services, engineering, construction, education, energy
  • Agenda includes inauguration of the British Business Center of the British Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, which will provide advising and support to British SMEs for doing business with Mexico

U.S. mission: February 3 – 8, 2014

  • Led by Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
  • Includes representatives of 17 companies
  • Focus sectors include advanced manufacturing, information and communications technology, and health IT and medical devices
  • Agenda includes visits to Mexico City and Monterrey and with top government officials

City of Los Angeles mission: March 2 – 5, 2014

  • Led by Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti
  • Currently recruiting participants
  • Focus on advanced technology sectors
  • Agenda includes meetings with local businesses and government officials

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