JOSÉ GARCÍA TORRES

Mexico 2021 | DIPLOMACY & ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

USMCOC works to help small and medium-sized Mexican companies partner with American companies to capitalize on available opportunities.

José García Torres
BIOGRAPHY

José García Torres has held various important positions during his 32-year career with Nacional Financiera (NAFIN), the leading industrial development bank owned by the government of Mexico. In 1991, he was appointed as the bank's representative in Washington, where he also acted as the financial counselor of the government at the Mexican Embassy there during the early stages of the negotiations of the NAFTA. In 1995, he was appointed honorary president of the US-Mexico Chamber of Commerce. In 2002, García Torres retired from NAFIN and, since then, has advised international companies interested in accessing the Mexican market. He holds an MA in economics from Vanderbilt University, a BA in economics from the National University of Mexico (UNAM), and an emeritus doctorate from different institutions.

What are the main opportunities for trade between the US and Mexico currently?

In 2020, the USMCA agreement entered into effect, strengthening the capacity of Mexican companies to export. Thanks to this new agreement, certain activities and industries will be reinforced, and the agreement will improve the capacities and capabilities of companies and positively benefit the workforce. All that brought excellent results in 3Q and 4Q2020 and continued in 2021. The proximity of Mexico to the US and Canadian markets will help our exports and the economy to recover; however, such recovery will depend on the evolution of the pandemic.

What stance do you expect Joe Biden to have when it comes to manufacturing in Mexico?

The Biden administration has a clear idea of what to do in this situation. It wants large corporations and organizations to expand US trade not only to Mexico and Canada but everywhere. It needs to bring in parts that are produced and imported from other countries, and given the relevant position of Mexico geographically, large corporations understand that the best location for investment and new manufacturing plants for spare parts is Mexico. Here, on the border we have the ability to develop small cities that can produce such products, and that is beneficial to the US, as it means lower manufacturing costs, so it will not lose its trading opportunities.

What do you consider to be your biggest achievements in 2020?

We were part of different events with other chambers, since we are closely related to all of them in Mexico. We were a part of the discussion groups in different sectors of the economy and helped our members understand the emerging difficulties that the pandemic brought and the initial alternative solutions or actions that were taken.

What main opportunities for trade do you see between the US and Mexico?

For some years now, we have been working to help small and medium-sized Mexican companies to partner with US companies. In Washington, I learned that the US government has been working on supporting minorities for many years such as Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics, Europeans, and Asian Americans. The distribution and structuring of the labor force in the US is relevant because many Latin Americans, particularly Mexicans, live in the US. There are more than 40 million Hispanic, with Mexicans comprising over 30 million, the largest minority group there. The US government has created programs to support Hispanic companies to grow, pay taxes, and develop their companies. It provides special treatment to small companies that supply the federal and state governments, as well as large corporations, activity that is extremely relevant given the important participation reached by Hispanics and their companies in the US GDP.

Do you see a big opportunity for SMEs in Mexico to enter the US market and find government support?

We need to differentiate Mexican SMEs that are already in export markets such as auto parts, aerospace, and other industries. Those companies have been doing a great job given the relationship and confidence of US, Canadian, and other countries. The complementarity and manufacturing responsibility of their activities is extremely relevant for the success of such companies, representing added value in the integration chain of different industries and products. Referring to the niche of smaller trading companies, we have seen many young entrepreneurs trying to enter the US to develop partnerships with companies there to take advantage of such new opportunities.