The Mexico that we thought we knew is full of surprises, and the 1,952-mile border between the U.S. and our southern neighbor is a region "exploding with energy and possibilities," according to Time Magazine.
If you happen to be a bold entrepreneur exploring international trade opportunities, there could not be a more favorable time to set your marketing sights - and perhaps even travel - "South of the Border." But how do you get started? There is no better way than to get involved in the upcoming Mission to Mexico happening December 3-5, 2001.
Sponsored by the Society of the Plastics Industry's (Washington, D.C.) Global Business Council (formerly ITAC), the mission will focus on tooling and processing, and the number of attendees is listed at "unlimited," meaning that all who wish to take part are encouraged to do so.
Mission participants will headquarter in McAllen, TX - across the border from Reynosa, Mexico, the host city that is home to several Maquiladora (foreign-owned) manufacturers, all of which should be of great interest to mission participants.
The itinerary packs much activity into a short span of time, but obviously attempts to use the limited time to maximize everyone's potential gain and benefit. On Sunday, December 2, mission attendees will "meet and greet" at a designated area, meet with other participants and staff, and most likely get together for a casual dinner.
The Monday, December 3 schedule calls for a breakfast briefing - similar to the Asia Mission, for those who attended that event - that will center on an introduction to representatives from the government and trade associations, possibly including a U.S. manufacturer already doing business in the Maquiladora area. The briefing is designed primarily to give participants insights into the practices, issues and concerns associated with doing business in Mexico.
Possible speakers include Trend Technologies, McAllen Economic Development Corporation and a representative from the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC).
After breakfast on Monday, the day will feature plant tours, the first of them possibly a combination of OEMs and tool shops (or perhaps just OEMs). The plants are primarily located in Reynosa. Among those on the tour agenda are Alpine Electronics of America, Bissell, Inc., Black & Decker, Cable Link, Corning Science, TRW VSS1, West Bend Co., Whirlpool Corp., Zenith, Delco Electronics and quite a few more. A causal dinner with an open discussion will close the Monday activities.
The Tuesday, December 4 schedule includes breakfast from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., with plant tours scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A formal reception will be held in the evening, to be attended by area businesses, government and trade association representatives, and will most likely feature a keynote presentation by the president of Anipac and SPI/U.S. leaders.
On Wednesday, December 5, mission attendees will benefit from a panel discussion from 8 a.m. until noon, consisting of company representatives who are either expanding to Mexico or have already established themselves. Participants can ask questions and learn first-hand about the prospects of doing business in Mexico.
Though the SPI encourages U.S. moldmakers to look into Mexican market opportunities - and there are a great many to be had - it should be noted that Mexico's moldmakers are enjoying an increasing reputation for the quality of their work. Injection molding and extrusion are the most widely used production techniques. Foreign competition is forcing the Mexican plastics industry to modernize, and imports of processing machinery and molds reached nearly $1.1 billion in 1997.