Fernando Turner Dávila, Nuevo León State Secretary of Economic Development stated: “Globalization is not going to end with Trump”
For the Mexican government, few goals seem more important than winning new foreign investment. The competition among Mexican states to bring the next automobile plant or aerospace factory is intense and produces big-time incentives for foreign companies who make the move.
But the announcement that Carrier, the Indiana-based company that makes air conditioners and heaters, would be keeping some 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis instead of moving them south of the U.S. border to Monterrey, was greeted by Mexican officials with little more than a shrug.
“I see this as something that should occupy us, not worry us,” said Hector Castillo Olivares, the mayor of Santa Catarina, the Monterrey suburb where the new Carrier plant is being built.
“The United States is not the world,” the state’s governor, Jaime “El Bronco” Rodríguez, told a radio station. “We don’t depend on them, nor do we have to depend on them.”
Or as Fernando Turner Dávila, the state’s economic development secretary put it: “We are confident about the future.”
While some of this might be positive government-speak to mask a painful loss of hundreds of jobs, other dynamics are also at work.
For one thing, the Carrier decision is not a disaster for the company’s Mexico operations. As Turner explained, the new plant will still open in coming months and will create jobs, though fewer than planned. The company currently employs about 3,000 people in the Monterrey area, he said, and this is going to increase to about 4,100, compared to about 5,000 before Trump arrived on the scene.
Monterrey, and other cities in northern Mexico’s manufacturing belt, are a success story for the country. They have recovered from some brutal drug war years and are now home to a robust network of manufacturing plants making cars, electronics, steel and other products.
But the United States isn’t really key to that success. In Nuevo León, the state that is home to Monterrey, 92 percent of the total investment is domestic. Of the 8 percent that comes from abroad, the United States accounts for 40 percent of this, a contribution that has been declining over the years, as companies from Europe and Asia bring more jobs to the state, Turner said.
South Korea is now one of the most important, as they have opened a Kia car plant in Monterrey and brought in other parts suppliers.
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