Paving the Way for a Competitive StateBy Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 08/06/2020 - 18:43
Q: What factors have motivated the arrival of foreign investment to Tlaxcala?
A: Investment came thanks to a strategic development plan under Governor Marco Antonio Mena. One of Tlaxcala’s great opportunities is the government’s recognition that employment and education should be the backbone of its state development plan, which means the government’s efforts are going to lead to greater promotion, better conditions and more investment from the private sector.
This is not only true for the automotive sector. Tlaxcala has also established a balance between the industrial and services sectors, after having a purely industrial tradition. Over time, social and economic conditions have improved, bringing better private schools and better road and services infrastructure. Over the past three years, three hotels and four malls have been inaugurated and also the state’s first golf club. Separately these may seem irrelevant, but all of these services provide an ecosystem for the industrial sector to consider further investment supported by quality living conditions.
Tlaxcala is among the states with the highest industrial investment in four strategic sectors: chemical, textile, tourism and automotive, which has resulted in economic growth above 4 percent. Compared to the national average, we have strong growth, employment generation like never before and the largest number of jobs created in the history of Tlaxcala.
Q: What actions has the state taken to provide investors with certainty and security?
A: Tlaxcala’s security indicators say this is the second-safest state nationwide, just below Campeche. We have invested US$1.35 billion in security over the past three years, which has helped us boost investment to the state. Furthermore, the governor’s decision to base his development plan on education, health and employment creates a good business climate and a favorable context for investment.
Q: What strategies is SEDECO in charge of implementing within this plan?
A: Our motto is to be a facilitator, remove obstacles and allow investment. We are not partners but allies to the industry, with a goal to build trust, which sadly has been lost in many countries, especially in Mexico. We also have knowledge on public procedures at the three levels of government – local, state and federal – which allows investors to focus on doing business and concretizing their investment plans. All this involves work, such as raising awareness among municipal presidents and collaborating with federal delegations.
The governor is guided by the same motto and accompanies investors throughout the entire establishment process. I think this is an important differentiator. All this, combined with SEDECO’s strategic sectorial knowledge provides a high value.
With ProMéxico’s disappearance, if governments do not take the lead in promoting their states, few investors will take them into account. This does not only mean using digital platforms but also institutions such as the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in favor of investors. Companies are interested in knowing who they are working with, so it is important that the governor knows them. That creates confidence, which is the basis of most of today’s decision-making process. Many states provide economic incentives, others offer greater geographical advantages or large investments in industrial parks. Here we have all three and our true differentiator is treatment, service and above all, support from the public sector.
Q: What efforts has Tlaxcala made to promote the state abroad?
A: With the scarcity in budgetary resources, it is not only necessary to have imagination but true management efficiency. Gov. Mena has requested the formation of thematic committees to properly market the state since SEDECO Tlaxcala could not continue without the support of the state Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Social Communication. Also, the foreign trade missions we have participated in and, above all, being able to find contacts through embassies, have been an engine for us.
We must rely on those who already have the expertise and who have seen their products reach the world. Governors who believe that investors will find out that there is adequate territory in the country by themselves will hardly see any progress in investment attraction. We have to draft strategies for all of Mexico. We are all Mexico and being selfish will not benefit anyone. We have to be consistent, analyze and diagnose our capabilities and then make promotional decisions.
Q: What is the extent of your relationship with CLAUZ?
A: Our relationship came after many years of working together with Puebla. I think the cluster is maturing, although it still has a lot to learn from the other clusters. Fortunately, there is a will and vocation to coexist with public institutions and academic institutions.
Tlaxcala continues to participate actively and we recognize the work of CLAUZ’s President Ulrich Thoma. He is a motivated man, concerned about the region and the automotive sector’s development. We still have to learn a lot and I think there must be greater solidarity among all groups to find synergies so that we all do well.
Q: How does Tlaxcala meet investors’ needs regarding skilled labor and sustainable practices?
A: Tlaxcala can hardly compete with states such as Queretaro or Guanajuato in terms of budget, so we have to find differentiators that can set us apart. We are very competitive in the industrial parks we are developing and our goal is to develop parks where resources are reusable to the largest extent.
USMCA, despite creating certainty, gives us new challenges and opportunities and entrepreneurs will have to adapt to the new rules. This is not a risk but an opportunity to grow and become sustainable. Regarding our workforce, we have to be congruent with the efforts of entrepreneurs and the stability we are looking for to reduce turnover in the state.
Jorge Vázquez was appointed by Gov. Marco Antonio Mena as Minister of Economic Development of Tlaxcala in 2017. From 2010 to 2011, he served as Legal Director of the Congress of the State of Tlaxcala