Ildefonso Guajardo
Ministry of Economy
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Priorities for Mexico's Trade Relationships

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 11:24

Q: How will Mexico take advantage of the renegotiation of NAFTA to boost the country’s manufacturing competitiveness in the auto industry?

A: The automotive industry in North America is a key driver of economic growth, job creation and global competitiveness for the region. There is the possibility to assess if we can enhance NAFTA’s competitiveness by increasing the region’s value add. Nevertheless, such an evaluation should be based on the importance of preserving the integration achieved over the past 23 years among the sector’s value chains and which has promoted cost-effective production for automakers in all three countries. Mexico and its NAFTA partners can explore additional means to increase competitiveness by collaborating on safety standards, infrastructure improvements to border facilities and by streamlining customs procedures.

Q: What strategies is the Ministry of Economy following to ensure that Mexico remains a competitive destination for FDI despite international uncertainty?

A: Mexico is one of the most open economies to international trade and investment. The structural reforms carried out by President Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration have helped attract domestic and foreign investment in strategic sectors. Specifically, the Ministry of Economy has implemented several actions to simplify doing business in Mexico. First is the easing of regulations to facilitate investment in sectors where FDI was previously restricted. Second is increased accessibility and transparency of the Public Registry of Commerce and Property. Third is the creation, with the support of Congress, of a new corporate figure called Simplified Joint Stock Company, which allows for the creation of an online business at no cost and at any time when annual income is below MX$5 million. Finally, the use of electronic platforms to ease processes related to FDI registry, as well as access to the required national standardization procedures and applicable standards or technical regulations.

Q: What are the government’s priorities regarding the establishment of commercial agreements with Asian and Latin American countries?

A: The Asia-Pacific region is a priority for Mexico. Over the last four years, we have followed different routes to strengthen the country’s commercial ties with these countries. In late 2012, Mexico joined TPP negotiations. However, since TPP’s entry into force is uncertain, Mexico is exploring additional paths to approach the region. For instance, in March 2017 in Viña del Mar, Chile, the Pacific Alliance established the “associate state” category, with the goal of signing trade agreements with Asia-Pacific countries, mainly targeting other TPP hopefuls. Within the framework of APEC, leaders of the Pacific Alliance engaged in dialogues with Asian economies in which they explored common cooperation areas, namely SMEs and trade facilitation.

Q: What strategies is the government planning to implement to help companies diversify operations outside the US?

A: President Peña Nieto’s administration expects to diversify Mexico’s trade agenda with potential markets and deepen our integration with existing partners. We are modernizing our trade agreements with both the EU and the European Free Trade Association countries. In Latin America, we are deepening the existing agreements with Brazil and Argentina.

Q: How is the Ministry working to boost the presence of Mexican companies abroad?

A: ProMéxico serves as a useful platform to help internationalize Mexican companies. It provides them with assistance to identify the most suitable export or foreign investment opportunities through market studies and accompanies them through the process, from packaging, labeling and brand registration, to finding legal advice across the border. ProMéxico also develops promotional activities to help position Mexican products abroad, such as missions, fairs or seminars, which help them enhance their growth.