Q: Given that CAMEXA functions as a support for German companies coming to Mexico, how does the Chamber make this process more comfortable for its members?
JF: The German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (AHKs) are the most important partners of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in terms of the promotion of German business in other countries. Together with Germany’s embassies and consulates, the AHKs officially represent the interests of Germany’s industry and commerce with political and administrative authorities in their host countries.
Under the service brand DEinternational, the AHKs provide globally harmonized services, and other solutions depending on special requirements from each location. Within the scope of the DEinternational portfolio, some of our services include address research and a supplier search, among others. We have representatives in the most important automotive regions that support our members, an extensive network of real estate companies, and a strong relationship and direct access to the most relevant governmental institutions. Through our various platforms, we are able to offer our members an opportunity to expand their business network. We cooperate closely with German OEMs and Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 suppliers, and we also work closely with the relevant industry associations such as AMIA, INA, and the regional automotive clusters. As a result, we can inform German companies about the existing needs in the supply chain, creating synergies among the enterprises that are already established, as well as with new players. It is part of our mission to improve the commercial relationships between Mexico and Germany. Therefore, we focus a large part of our activities on promoting the business relationships between these companies and their German counterparts.
The German-Mexican Chamber of Commerce (CAMEXA) collaborates with legal experts and consultants, to help our members in areas such as customs, as well as import and export operations. Given the current focus on the Bajio region and Puebla with Daimler, BMW, and Audi, there is a great opportunity for new German companies to expand their business with OEMs. Additionally, we can help companies choose their best location considering factors like client and supplier location, import and export operations, and other necessities regarding logistics, justin-sequence, and just-in-time solutions.
Q: What are CAMEXA Plus’ strategies relating to the dual education system in Mexico?
JH: The next step toward improving Mexican competitiveness is to assure the existence of highly qualified technical workers. A huge amount of engineers are leaving universities every year, but automotive companies mostly need skilled specialists. Normally, young graduates do not have any experience with working on production lines, while German companies are used to recruiting highly skilled technicians with the relevant qualifications to participate actively in the manufacturing process. This is why German technicians are usually trained on the job with German dual-vocational education systems, which guarantee the highest level of performance with every worker. To date, the two academic institutions that have been actively participating in this program are the National College of Technical Vocational Education (CONALEP) and the College of Science and Technology Studies of the State of Sonora (CECyTEs). Nevertheless, since a ministerial agreement was published recognizing dual-vocational training in Mexico as a legal way of completing high school, any public institution can participate under the established rules. German companies help CAMEXA to elaborate labor skills standards within the Mexican Council for Labor Skills Standardization and Certification (CONOCER), and certain companies even open their doors to provide basic training or specialized courses to future technicians.
Q: How will the year of Germany in Mexico help Mexican and German companies alike to develop new business opportunities?
JH: CAMEXA is currently preparing a sizable exhibition called Hecho en Alemania (Made in Germany). This will be the first and most important event for the German economy during the year of Germany in Mexico in 2016. All major car manufacturers will present their innovations during the event, and there will also be other announcements regarding scientific discoveries with a relevant impact to the automotive industry