"Doing Business in Mexico," the first seminar hosted by the Consulate of Mexico to encourage trade between Colorado and the state's second-largest international trading partner, invited a group of local business people to learn about new business opportunities, especially in the area of green energy, tourism and aerospace.
More than 80 people attended the seminar Wednesday at the Governor's residence at the Boettcher Mansion in Denver. Gov. John Hickenlooper was among the governmental representatives of Colorado pushing for new business relationships on both sides of the border.
Consul General of Mexico Andres Chao said his office decided to host this seminar so business people who are interested in investing in Mexico could get the latest information on the growth of Mexico's economy and the growth in the green energy and aerospace industries.
"The idea was to bring the latest information of what various states in Mexico are offering in terms of incentives and possibilities and what are the advantages in case American businessmen want to invest in Mexico. On the other hand we also wanted to provide information to Mexican businessmen who are already in Colorado in case they want to open a new business or are looking for other areas of investment," said Chao.
In the past five years, Mexico has been enjoying a steady growth in its economy according to Jorge Lopez, North America regional officer with Pro Mexico, the Mexican Government institution in charge of promoting trade and investment in the country. Mexico has signed 12 free trade agreements with 44 countries, including the United States. Mexico is ranked as the thirteenth largest economy in the world according to Goldman Sachs.
Kevin Jerome, a representative of Furniture Row car racing, attended the event looking for opportunities to promote Mexican companies through the Furniture Row race team in NASCAR. He has been involved in business with Mexican companies in the past and said that Mexico produces quality products that are easy to promote.
"They have very dynamic companies in Mexico, like Bimbo, Comex, Victoria beer, these are all quality products that have an ownership stake in this country and we feel there is an opportunity to market their products to the 100 millions consumers in the NASCAR base," he said.
Mexico is Colorado's second-largest international trade partners behind Canada, with exports reaching over $961 million in 2010, according to Stephanie Garnica, director of the Trade and Investment for the Americas office of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and one of the speakers at the seminar.
There has been a steady growth in Colorado companies trading with Mexico in the past five years, mainly due to the NAFTA trade agreement, Garnica said.
"Typically Colorado companies - if they are new to the export scene - may look at Canada first simply because most of Canada speaks English as their primary language, but Mexico is a close second and sometimes is the first country that companies look at if they are interested in growing in the Latin American region," she said.
Among the main exports from Colorado to Mexico are beef, photographic and cinematographic goods, minerals and aerospace equipment, Garnica added.
The potential areas of trade most talked about at the seminar were green energy and clean energy, which are important industries in Colorado and growing industries in Mexico according to information from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. There are plans of developing the green and clean energy industries in the state of Sonora.
During the six-hour long event the audience heard from various representatives of governmental organizations that promote trade both in Colorado and Mexico. Apart from Lopez, among the speakers representing Mexico was Alfonso Sumano, Mexico Tourism Board Director for the Americas, and Alexis Ralph, sales director with the National Trust Fund for Tourism and Development.
Representing Colorado where Garnica, Karen Gerwitz, Executive Director at the World Trade Center Denver, and Juan Carlos Sanchez, Merrick Business Development Director Central and South America.