Lior Yafe
Economic Counselor
Embassy of Israel in Mexico
View from the Top

Mexico: Key to Connecting with the US and Regional Supply Chain

By Alessa Flores | Fri, 11/20/2020 - 09:00

Q: Mexico and Israel celebrated 20 years of free trade agreement this year. What progress has been made in strengthening trade relations between the two countries? 

A: There are diplomatic relationship between Mexico and Israel since 1952 and along the years there is a strong and fruitful collaboration in many fields, not just economic. Israel has a high number of Free Trade agreements, worldwide. As a matter of a fact Israel was the first one to sign an agreement with the United States in 1985. México-Israel Free Trade Agreement 20 anniversary is a true celebration for the two countries. The FTA has led to a dramatic uprising in the trade balance of both countries. A great example is the trade balance between the countries. When the FTA got into effect, in 2000, the trade balance between Mexico and Israel was standing on a few tens of millions of dollars and since then we are witnessing a constant increase that reached up to 781 Million dollars in 2019. Mexico is mainly exporting to Israel electronic machinery, chemicals, rubber and plastic. ‏Israel exporting to Mexico electronic machinery, optic and medical equipment, transportation products and some chemicals. In my opinion, there is still a big potential and a lot of room for growth in trade between the two countries. Israel is the only country in the Middle East with which Mexico has a free trade agreement.

Q: What are the areas in which Israel and Mexico can further cooperate to boost both countries ' economic growth?

A: The potential exists in a high number of sectors. Not only in traditional sectors, such as agriculture, water or manufacturing, but in sectors in which Israel is a technological leader, such as cyber, retail-tech, homeland security, industry 4.0 technologies, health care, sports-tech, telecommunication, telemedicine and much more. A great example is how Israel, a 9 million people state, managed to be one of the few countries in the world, to start human trials for coronavirus vaccine. I encourage anyone who is interested in Israeli technology and cooperation with Israel industry, in all the sectors I mentioned, to contact the economic office at the Israeli embassy in Mexico. All of our services are free of charge.

Q: How has the interest of Israeli businessmen towards Mexico grown in recent years and in which areas of the Mexican economy? 

A: The interest of Israeli industry in the Mexican market is broad, significant and evident in a variety of sectors. For example, and these are only partial examples, the pharmaceutical company Teva has a manufacturing plant in Guadalajara; Amdocs, a software and services company also has a development and operation center in Guadalajara. Rivolis, the global drip irrigation systems company has the biggest production plant outside of Israel in Leon, and I can keep providing more and more examples, without starting to mention business collaborations.  

Q: What are some of Israel's most prominent startups in Mexico? What challenges do Israeli startups face in Mexico and how does the embassy support them in positioning themselves in the country?

A: The commercial attaché network is part of the foreign trade Administration, at the Ministry of Economy and industry of Israel, which responsible for the management and direction of the international trade policy of the state of Israel. The economic commercial office at the Israeli Embassy in Mexico main objective, which provides its services free of charge and without giving preference of one company over another, is to identify businesses opportunities and promote business collaborations between Mexican and Israeli companies. We can assist any Mexican company in a number of ways. First, in costume-made scouting process that can locate relevant technology for the Mexican business. That is, as much as a Mexican company is in a need to locate and embedded new technology, in a wide range of sectors, we can find that technology for them quickly and professionally. My team and I also organizing B2B meetings for both parties, the Israelis and the Mexican business, which produce economic and commercial collaborations. Let me tell you a secret, we are already doing so with a high number of Mexican companies, which are at the forefront of the Mexican economy. We have a wide range of partners, both in Mexico and in Israel, who assist us in any relevant request. Today, when much of the discourse takes place online because of the coronavirus, it is easier than ever. 
In addition, when the coronavirus will end and when it will be possible to fly to and from Israel on a regular basis, my team and me will help to create a business road shows and delegations to Israel and Mexico for Israeli and Mexican companies, on a regular basis. The result of all these activities are many significant success stories in the form of commercial collaborations between Israeli and Mexican companies, in which the economic office at the embassy is directly involved.

Q: How relevant is Mexico to Israel in economic matters with respect to other countries in the region?

A: Mexico is undoubtedly a significant target country for Israeli companies. Not only because Mexico is a large and mature market in terms of its size and potential, that has not yet reached its maximum, but also because of its proximity to the US and being part of the regional supply chain.

Photo by:   Lior Yafe
Alessa Flores Alessa Flores Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst