GREAT Week In Mexico: Scenesetter
British Embassy Mexico City
Baroness Bonham-Carter, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Mexico, will head the delegation to Mexico’s first GREAT week from 8-15 November, leading over 40 British companies and experts in the week’s activities, which focus on architecture, animation, digital and luxury retail, and giving a welcome boost to efforts to double trade by 2015.
Since taking up office in December 2012, President Peña Nieto’s Government has pushed forward an ambitious programme of structural reforms. A drop in growth to 1.3%. is forecast in 2013. But growth is expected to return to close to 3-4% next year and the medium term prognosis remains very positive.
There have already been reforms earlier this year on education and telecoms, and on good governance, including a bill annulling the impunity of Deputies and Senators from criminal prosecution and one reducing the powers of States to accumulate debt and ensuring greater transparency in State Finances. And a package of fiscal reforms has just been passed by Congress which, to some extent, has paved the way for the last of the major reform packages, the energy reform. This is very important.
Bilateral relations are in excellent shape. Baroness Bonham-Carter’s visit will build on the momentum which has been injected into the relationship over the past two years and help ensure this is maintained as we head toward the Year of the UK in Mexico and the Year of Mexico in the UK in 2015.
We have agreed to double bilateral trade to £4.2 billion by 2015 and have made steady progress towards that target, reaching £2.8 billion in 2012. But the UK remains seriously under-represented in the Mexican market, with total UK exports less than 1% of the market (well behind the US, Germany, France, Spain and Italy) and UK services at 3%. We are moving in the right direction – UK exports of goods to Mexico increased by 51% from 2009 to 2012, while the figures for the first 8 months of 2013 show a further increase of 18%. And we have seen around a 50% increase in trade missions this year compared to 2012. British companies are increasing their presence at an impressive rate, particularly on the retail side. HSBC are a big player here, kicking off 2013 with a US$500 million investment set to leverage a US$2 billion investment in their Latin American hub. We believe there is potential for more and larger investments e.g. as a result of the recently published National Infrastructure Plan. Our bilateral trade taskforce is starting to show dividends in breaking down market access barriers, facilitating the relaxation of high import duty rates on cheddar cheese and kick-starting a relationship with Mexican Customs which we hope will lead to a more professional, efficient entry service for UK goods.
The Embassy is also working to increase Mexican investment in the UK, with Mexican corporations becoming more interested in internationalising. A number have already invested in the UK: including CEMEX (one of the world’s largest cement producers), the mining company Fresnillo (which listed on the London Stock Exchange), Gruma (Food and Drink), Mexichem (Petrochemicals), and Monex (Financial Services). The recent decision by Carlos Slim’s America Movil to invest US$40 million in UK ICT company Shazam, acquiring 10.8% of the business, is the first known investment in a UK company by one of the world’s richest men.
This will be the first GREAT week in Mexico, and we have chosen to focus on creative industries. The Mexicans are a creative people (the BBC has this week highlighted the fact that, for the second year in a row, a Mexican has won the Best Director prize at Cannes). We believe Mexico can act as a gateway to the rest of Latin America in the creative industries; and they are a priority area for many Mexican States. Baroness Bonham-Carter’s own background in the creative industries will command real respect here and give more power to her message that Business is GREAT. She will be supporting two major events where the UK is the guest country of honour.
Baroness Bonham-Carter will head the delegation of over 40 UK companies and experts; she and the Ambassador will participate in events across six major Mexican cities (Cuernavaca, Puebla, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Queretaro and Mexico City itself). The GREAT week events cover:
Architecture: UK companies will examine the significant opportunities that exist in Mexico, with a focus on urbanism in the 21st century, sustainable design and innovative master planning. This will include a leading architecture conference and visits to flagship developments in Mexico City and Guadalajara;
Luxury Retail: the delegation will take part in the Luxury Forum / Life&Style event in Mexico City, where the UK will be the country of honour. They will also visit leading luxury developments;
Animation: the highlight will be participation in the “Cut Out Fest” in Queretaro, Latin America’s leading animation festival, where the UK is country of honour;
Digital Sector: with a focus on smart cities, open government and connectivity. The British companies taking part will show how the UK is at the cutting edge of digital innovation, for the overall benefit of society. The companies will be taking part in the ‘Data Festival’ in Mexico City, the ‘Dialogues for the National Digital Strategy’, the ‘Innovating in Morelos’ event, and ‘Cut Out Fest’.
Mexico is a fast growing and exciting market, which offers huge commercial opportunities. There is a positive feeling towards the UK and its businesses and institutions. The GREAT week will be an excellent opportunity to showcase all that is best about Britain – and to show British companies what Mexico has to offer.
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