Ensuring Investment Stays In The BajioThu, 01/11/2018 - 11:01
Q: What would you consider the highlights of your administration regarding new investment?
A: During this administration, we have consolidated Guanajuato as the biggest automotive cluster in Latin America. We have manufacturing facilities belonging to OEMs such as Mazda, Honda, GM, Ford and Volkswagen, while Toyota will shortly finalize the construction of its new venture in the country. By 2020, we expect Guanajuato will be the main vehicle producer in Mexico and Latin America In terms of FDI, we had projected a total of US$5 billion by the end of the administration but we will close our six-year period with almost US$13 billion in new projects. Consequently, we have had a great impact on the state’s unemployment rate. Guanajuato has recently been among the main states regarding job creation and by the end of the administration, we will have generated 300,000 new positions. In 2017 alone, 62,000 new jobs were created, leading to an average of 50,000 new positions per year.
Q: How are you ensuring continuity in Guanajuato’s investment promotion strategies?
A: Investment promotion is not only dependent on state policies as all the investment projects are approved by a Citizen’s Council. That being said, Guanajuato offers legal certainty above anything else. According to the National Institute for the Consumer, we are among the Top 3 states for contract fulfillment. As a result, companies know that whatever contracts they sign with this administration will stand once the new government arrives. We also offer certainty based on the development plan we have structured for 2040, which helps investors understand where the country will be in the next couple of decades. Lastly, according to INEGI’s latest census, Guanajuato is the region with the least corruption in the country, thus providing transparency in every process a company must follow with the government.
We expect all these factors will offer the certainty required for investment to continue arriving to Guanajuato after we leave office. We have 100 pending projects to attract new investment to the state, 70 percent of which are oriented to the automotive industry.
Q: Considering the recent USMCA agreement, what is Guanajuato’s position regarding international trade?
A: We are confident that the agreement reached by the government will return certainty to the market. Nevertheless, when negotiations looked precarious, we were prepared for a scenario with or without NAFTA. We know that if NAFTA were to be canceled or changed to a bilateral agreement there would be an impact on our operations but it would also open an opportunity to further diversify those operations.
The CPTPP, for example, opens new possibilities for our products to be exported to Asia and South America. Right now, Guanajuato exports to over 125 countries representing US$22 billion per year when 20 years ago we only exported to three countries representing production worth US$200 million. If we consider this administration alone, we started 2012 with US$11 billion yearly in exports and we have doubled that number. We need to diversify our operations but not compromise the good relationship we have with our North American neighbors.
Q: Considering Guanajuato’s 2040 vision, what advice would you give to the next administration to maintain the state’s growth momentum?
A: Creating and maintaining the trust of new investors should be a priority. Our administration was built on trust and delivering on our promises regardless of the contracts we might sign. Especially in an uncertain environment, the best thing we can offer companies is confidence regarding their investment, no matter what. Furthermore, we must consider ourselves as account managers, which means that we must follow up on any relationship we establish with new investors. We are allies and partners throughout the lifetime of their investment and not just while the plant is being built. Education must also be at the top of the list for the new administration.