T&T’s trading relationship with Mexico is growing, according to both the country’s ambassador to T&T, Victor Hugo Morales and the CEO of T&T Coalition of Services Industries, Vashti Guyadeen.
Speaking on Thursday at a Doing Business with the World Series Webinar hosted by the TTCSI, Morales is hoping that Mexico, one of the world’s largest economies and agricultural producers, can be a supplier of the Channa that is used in T&T’s popular breakfast food Doubles.
“We offer quality products that can be exported to T&T with better prices and competitive advantages. For example, T&T consumes chickpeas or channa as it is known locally for the famous doubles. Mexico is the leading producer of channa in Latin America and Mexico can be an excellent and secure supplier.
“It seems to me that another area of opportunity to increase the Mexican presence in the T&T market is beer. Mexico by far is the world’s leading exporter of beer. Mexican entrepreneurs could explore the local industrial sector, We have the example of Trinidad Cement Ltd. (TCL) and Cemex. We also hope T&T can diversify its exports to Mexico,” he said.
He pointed out that Mexico is T&T’s eight largest trade partner and spoke about his country’s strong economic performance.
“Mexico can be an absolutely relevant partner for T&T and the Caribbean. Mexico is the 14th largest economy in the world. It has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$1.7 trillion. That makes Mexico the second largest economy in Latin America and the Caribbean. Mexico’s economy is geared towards international markets. This differentiates Mexico from the rest of the region. Mexico offers mainly but not only value added products. Foreign trade accounts for 49 percent of the GDP. It receives large amount of Foreign Direct Investment that is directed to the manufacturing sectors.”
He said the global pandemic’s aftermath and global geo-political changes are “revolutionising” Mexico’s economy.
He added that Mexico’s highly skilled workforce and trade agreements benefit the country.
“Now, Mexico is moving towards markets that are safe, friendly and close to the centres of consumption. Investment in Mexico has accelerated. In 2022, it grew 12 per cent over the previous year with an amount of US$36 billion. This year it is estimated to grow by 25 per cent. Investments are received mainly from the United States and China but also from other partners like the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, South Korea and Canada.”
He added that Mexico has 14 major free trade agreements, giving it access to the markets of 50 countries, which enables it to attract foreign investment.
He also said Mexico is the world’s sixth largest destination for international visitors and every year some 40 million tourists visit Mexico.
He highlighted some of Mexico’s macro-economic indicators.
Mexico’s economy is expected to grow by 3 per cent in 2023 and he added that Mexico’s annual inflation rate hovers around six percent which indicates “good monetary management.”
He also pointed out that Mexico’s international reserves amount to roughly US$201 billion representing five months of import cover.
He added that Mexico’s unemployment rate stands at 3 per cent which reflects a “good degree of job stability.”
“We experience issues such as inequality but the country has managed to reduce poverty by an extraordinary 16 percent. We have a solid economic structure. We are undergoing a transformation focused on production and business.”
He said T&T’s and Mexico’s partnership has to work both ways and it must benefit T&T’s economy.
“Not only do I invite you to visit Mexico and enjoy its beauty and services but also to see Mexico as a relevant source of collaboration for the economic diversification of T&T.”
Long business ties
TTCSI’s CEO Guayadeen, who also spoke during the webinar, said this year makes it 57 years of friendship, cultural and technical cooperation, and trade and investment between the two countries.
She added that one of the most significant investments Mexico has made in T&T was when cement producer Cemex— one of the largest cement companies in the world—became the majority owner of Trinidad Cement Ltd in Claxton Bay.
“I mentioned a short while ago, the significant investment Mexico made in T&T’s construction sector via its ownership of TCL. Such an opportunity was made possible under the bilateral investment treaty with T&T, signed in 2006. It was a strategic move by both countries to increase their respective competitive advantages and build economic resilience in each country.”
She also said from that time and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, T&T and Mexico saw the trade growing between them reach double-digit figures year-on-year, close to 30 per cent at one point in the mid-2010s.
Valued at some US$366 million in 2013 alone, much of that was driven by Mexico’s purchase of T&T natural gas, liquid ammonia and methanol purchases, and T&T’s import of minerals, refrigerators, prepared foods, iron and steel pipes, PVC, and more, from Mexico, she said.
“In the geographic Caribbean, T&T is Mexico’s third largest trading partner. In Caricom specifically, T&T is Mexico’s main trade partner. And I know Ambassador Morales has been working hard to grow the trade between us even further, to ensure that Mexico is listed among T&T’s top five trading partners in the world.”
Guyadeen also pointed out that only last year, the Minister of Trade, Paula Gopee-Scoon, opened the door for a greater flow of agricultural products, manufactured goods, and industrial services, between both countries.
“That agreement was cemented with the visit of a Mexican trade mission to T&T one year ago, in a clear demonstration of goodwill and investment interest.”