The Director General, Dr. Didacus Jules, led a high level delegation to Mexico in September 2014 as part of the Commission’s deepening engagement with our partners and South-South Co-operation efforts. Mexico has been a stalwart friend of the region and has worked closely with the OECS Commission to promote a co-operation agenda.
During the Director General’s visit it was agreed that the work and interests of ProMexico provided numerous possibilities for co-operation between the OECS Commission and the Mexican agency. ProMexico is the trade and investment promotion agency for Mexico with a network of twenty-nine (29) offices spread across Mexico and forty nine (49) international offices. It has a staff complement of six hundred (600).
Following on this visit, a follow up mission from the OECS Competitive Business Unit was undertaken in November, 2014, to further define a program of co-operation between CBU and its Mexican counterpart -Pro Mexico. Vincent Philbert, Head of Unit travelled to Mexico where he held discussions ProMexico office with officials - , to introduce the CBU and its programs, to learn about ProMexico and to consider ways in which the two organizations could collaborate, align their work programs, share experiences and promote synergies to mutual advantage.
During the visit CBU Head of Unit had meetings and participated in formal events involving a broad selection of senior staff of ProMexico. Among those with whom meetings were held are:
Ambassador Francisco Gonzalez Dias (CEO), and other senior executives including Lourdes Arana Flores (Co-ordinator for Latin America and Caribbean Division), Marco Espinosa Vincens (Director of projects and Innovation) among others.
It was agreed that there are several areas in which ProMexico and CBU would collaborate to advance a mutually beneficial agenda for trade, investment and economic expansion. These include:
Investment and Trade Promotion:
- To conduct a series of national seminars for OECS Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs), sharing experiences, strategies and approaches of ProMexico.
- To share knowledge products such as national film industry promotion strategy which positions Mexico as a location for film production.
- To facilitate opportunities for product development support in the creative industries such as in the area of craft (ceramic/pottery), branding and intellectual property registration.
- To promote Knowledge-sharing on ProMexico services in support of innovation and invention such as the operations of the office of Patents and Property Rights, development of innovation platforms. “Mindfacture” (design, fashion, film, video games, animation).
- To facilitate market studies and study tours for companies wanting to do business in Mexico.
- To co-operate in conduct of ProMexico organized Trade Missions in Dominican Republic and Cancun in 2015.
- To assist OECS CBU with screening of companies and business matching of companies to be invited to Business missions in 2015.CBU will be invited to have exhibition booths at these missions.
- Mexico as a supplier of goods and services to OECS in areas such as pharmaceuticals and medical devices, construction material, technologies and services, infra-structure/engineering and civil works in resort construction, for instance.
- Mexico as a supplier of capital goods, equipment, spare parts and other inputs for SME production operations.
Capacity Building to CBU:
- Support to CBU in information sharing and use of templates, access to data and related features on the ProMexico website and strengthening of CBU IT platforms/services program.
- Assist with strengthening the Business Intelligence Unit aspects of CBU’s services.
- Provide short-term Technical Assistance support from ProMexico professionals for training in required areas for CBU work program.
- Assist CBU with short term personnel to strengthen its capacity in other identified areas.
- Reciprocal program of staff familiarization visits for CBU & ProMexico to observe processes, systems and gain knowledge relevant to agreed areas.
During the visit the CBU official was invited to participate in The Green Solutions Exposition in Aguascalientes, a state of 1.2 million inhabitants. This provided the opportunity to observe technologies in solar, bio gas and renewables, and to learn of the strides being made in Mexico in the area of green solutions (such as Nissan’s aggressive Mexico hybrid car program -plan to build one million hybrid cars).
During Green Solutions meetings were held with University of California Center for Environmental Public Policy Director (Blas Henriquez) - one of the featured presenters on panels for the conference- on possibilities of providing services such as review of the regional framework (proposed legislation and policies etc) for renewable energy (with particular focus on geothermal energy) for the OECS. CBU informed that there were geothermal initiatives in Dominica, St. Lucia and Nevis and the region may be interested in considering a regional framework of policy and legislation regarding development of this resource.
Formal events included a meeting with the Governor of the State of Aguascalientes and various officials where opportunities for exchanges and discussions were had with officials representing participating countries having a strong record in Green themes; such as Finland and Iceland.
Throughout the visit, the CBU was treated to the utmost level of hospitality, courtesy and positive energy. There was obvious enthusiasm displayed towards the developing relationship between the organizations and the prospects for its deepening.
Since, the Commission and Pro Mexico has continued to foster collaboration and co-ordination in areas of their work program. The Director General returned in July, 2015 to Cancun to present the OECS experience and discuss opportunities in the region as part of an expert panel to an audience drawn from trade and investment at the Mexican trade Exposition in Cancun.
At the invitation of Pro Mexico the CBU is sending a representative to the China Latin American Summit to be held in Mexico in October where opportunities to discuss trade and investment co-operation for the OECS will be introduced. These initiatives are all part of the ongoing work in which the two organizations are collaborating, aligning their work programs, sharing experiences and promoting synergies to mutual advantage.