Chihuahua Targets New InvestmentBy Sofía Hanna | Thu, 05/06/2021 - 10:55
Q: What is Chihuahua Global’s role in attracting investment to the state?
A: Chihuahua Global is a private sector initiative that highlights the state’s attractiveness as an investment destination. The state has always been in the Top 5 for FDI and it is where the concept of maquiladora was invented, which has also been very successful for attracting foreign investment. But there have also been problems over time as government changes led to changes in strategy, disrupting previous promotional efforts. As a result, many good ideas have gone to waste, especially over the last two decades.
Businessmen from Chihuahua proposed the creation of an Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to implement a strategy that aligns policies and the efforts and promotional messages of all of the state’s economic actors, private and public, to avoid the disruptions from political ups and downs or major events like the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to be an association that ensures continuity, and certainty, in promoting investment projects.
Q: What makes Chihuahua an attractive investment destination today?
A: The state’s main advantage is its position as the gateway to North America. Chihuahua is right in the middle of the US-Mexico border and is located at the heart of US logistics hubs. We are not only a place of passage; we also have the second-most important border port in the country and we have relationships with very high-level manufacturing companies. Some of the most important companies in the aerospace, automotive and health sectors are established in the state. The key advantages for Chihuahua are its strategic position, our important link to the logistics hubs in North America and that we have more than 40 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. We are also home of innovation with state of the art R&D institutions that are ready to cope with the demands of the future trends of industrial evolution.
Q: Which sectors is Chihuahua prioritizing to attract investment and new companies?
A: We have to get out of our comfort zone. While the national economy contracted last year due to the pandemic, Chihuahua grew above the national average. We enjoy of organic growth dynamics that have worked so far, but we cannot sit on our laurels. Now, we are working as a joint region with West Texas and southern New Mexico, under the Borderplex Alliance, to function as a single unit offering competitive advantages of a binational partnership that is symmetrical.
Q: What is the relationship between Chihuahua and Texas? What factors could be improved to make that relationship as fruitful as possible for both states?
A: The economic relationship between these two states is very important. There is powerful cooperation and there is a symmetry of forces; so, we complement each other very well. We have reached an agreement that will take this collaboration beyond the border, with some significant investments being planned for the cities of Chihuahua, Cuauhtemoc or Camargo. Obviously, the relationship between both countries falls into the federal sphere and, overall, we are working in an interesting, very open and collaborative manner with the federal US and Mexican authorities.
Q: What role do technological trends play in Chihuahua Global’s plans?
A: We are working to consolidate Chihuahua as a leader in attracting new technologies. We really want to take advantage of these technologies. At this time, we have to take into account changes toward cleaner and smarter technologies, but we also have to take into account changes in the mindset of business management. We want to take advantage of young, creative and hard-working people to be able to ask much more assertive and different questions. From Chihuahua Global, it can be expected that every effort will be made so that Chihuahua is among the Top 3 states that attract real foreign investment, not just corporate but the kind of investment that generates an economic spillover. Our goal is to generate well paid jobs and to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of Chihuahua.
Q: What new technological trends is Chihuahua targeting?
A: We are working in a targeted way to add value; we do not want to try everything that comes along. What we do not want is to continue to be seen as a place for maquiladoras. In fact, the word maquiladora also has a negative connotation because it is associated with poorly paid jobs and very simple processes. What we are looking to strengthen our offer of advanced manufacturing, high quality assets and R&D. We want to target high tech for the added value it provides to manufacturing and labor. We have to integrate ourselves into the value chains and allow Mexico’s productivity and cost-effectiveness to attract more investment in the sectors where we are competitive.
Q: How is Chihuahua incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) processes and in which areas could it be most useful?
A: The private sector of Chihuahua is investing heavily in IoT processes and we are working closely with strategic product partners. We are doing this so what is invested in technological innovation has real and specific applications in the producer sector. We are focusing on the automotive sector, electric cars, energy, aerospace, medical devices and logistics.
Q: What opportunities have arisen for Mexico amid tensions the US-China trade relationship?
A: The trade war between the US and China means countries like Mexico have an opportunity to win a greater share of business. However, we must be very cautious because globalization is changing. This new globalization is focused on making some large companies supply silos in the markets. Many companies are aligning manufacturing in Southeast Asia to become suppliers to China, for example. The US is also looking to grow supply on this side of the world. Our reality is to play with our regional leader, the US under the allied shoring initiatives. We are looking for opportunities that can be brought here to link the US value chain to North America. It is not about competing. Globalization is causing many processes to be duplicated and it makes sense to have them in a cost-effective location.
Q: With which regions is Chihuahua Global aiming to develop commercial ties?
A: We will continue to focus on the US and North American market. The US is definitely our main target in 2021 and in 2022. We want to reinforce nearshoring with Western companies established in Asia and then we will look to the rest of the world. This is where we see the possibility of success in integrating the value chains.