STRENGTHENING TIES

Jamaica 2019 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

There are many things Mexico canlearn from Jamaica and vice versa, and by strengthening cooperation, both countries will mutually benefit, in particular from the nascent medical cannabis sector.

Vicente Fox Quesada
BIOGRAPHY
A graduate of Iberoamericana University, Vicente Fox Quesada gained a bachelor’s degree in business administration at its campus in Mexico City, and a diploma course in senior management taught by professors of Harvard Business School. In 1964, he joined the firm Coca-Cola de México as a route supervisor. He eventually became regional CEO of the company for Mexico and Latin America, the youngest person to hold such a position in the firm. Later moving into a successful political career, he has also served as an advisor to the Mexican-American Chamber of Commerce and as Director of Grupo Fox.

What would you recommend Jamaica in terms of developing its cannabis industry and attracting FDI?

FDI is an important asset for the cannabis industry, and Jamaica has invaluable experience, now that medical use is regulated and approved. The Cannabis Licensing Authority has done a good job, and Jamaica should be congratulated for the dynamism that the government has instilled in this industry. Jamaica needs to continue to strengthen the value chain with a professional, honest, transparent, and accountable industry, and I am certain the country will have a solid market and, most of all, reach many more markets.

What can be done between Jamaica and Mexico in terms of commerce?

Jamaica is betting on the right industries; these are the industries of the future; however, there is a great deal to do, not only with Jamaica but also with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have been always close to Mexico and vice versa. As well, this is also the case with Colombia, Peru, and Central America, so I am confident the countries in the Caribbean and broader region, especially Jamaica, will work closely to build a robust market. Thankfully, this is starting to happen.

What can a robust medical cannabis industry in Mexico do for the country, and what is the biggest obstacle currently holding Mexico back from reaching this potential?

What I have seen from other markets is that this is moving fast, and Mexico needs to be on the front, as Jamaica is starting to do. Still, there is a great deal to do, and the Mexican government needs an authority that regulates properly and takes quick decisions to stand in favor of the industry and, most importantly, the interests of the country. This is the reason why the general director of the Mexico's Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) came to CanEx Jamaica, and I am glad that he brought great news in terms of developing the industry and making it modern by setting high and reachable standards. Things are going well in Mexico, and the General Director of COFEDRIS has made it clear. We need to continue to take away this promising plant from criminals and drugs cartels, taking it away from the illegality and putting it into the hands of responsible entrepreneurs, processors, and the authorities. Drug cartels and their wars kill over 80,000 youth every year, leaving streets full of blood, and the criminals around are grooming new generations with this mentality. This is also related to corruption at all levels. It is therefore a must to rescue this industry. This is the way for Mexico to build a new successful industry, generate wealth, create jobs, and benefit everyone. We need to break paradigms, which is why we have been doing similar events as the CanaMex sponsored by the CentroFox.

What is your assessment of the current relationship between the three NAFTA countries and your outlook regarding the long-term viability of the trade agreement?

We need to continue to promote NAFTA corporations to produce in each one of the countries so they are competitive with the big enterprises worldwide. We need to bring back the corporations to produce, as the industries need to be international, which will make countries and companies successful, improving people's lives. In terms of the cannabis industry, this needs to be a component of the new NAFTA in order to break boarders and walls and increase understanding. Canada has already approved everything, Mexico has to approve all, and now the US has a great deal to do in the industry, bearing in mind it has approvals at the local and state levels, and there is still more to do in terms of federal and national approvals. So, in order to get the NAFTA fully involved, the US must get up to date.