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Aug 27, 2015

Workshop Held to Bridge the Trade Divide

Mexico is one of Belize’s important trading partners, especially as it relates to agriculture and fisheries products. The trade and investment arm of the government, BELTRAIDE, is planning to increase exports across the borders. Today, a workshop with the private sector stakeholders and Mexican counterparts was held to explore the possibility of becoming the gateway for more local products to enter the North American Free Trade Agreement. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Export to Mexico: Bridging the Trade Divide is a business initiative aimed at highlighting commercial opportunities by promoting authentic export-ready goods into accessible markets.  The idea encompasses a range of factors that local business need to consider when planning to ship products across the northern border.

 

Mike Singh

Mike Singh, C.E.O., Ministry of Trade

“We have an opportunity in Belize to actually become the gateway for Central America into Mexico and vice versa because that crossing is going to be modernized and Belize is very strategically placed to become the facilitator or the conduit for trade between the southern, the countries south of Belize and Mexico which is the gateway to NAFTA.”

 

To achieve that objective from a local standpoint, companies will need to comport with established requirements in the Mexican market.  Those include intellectual property, customs structures and procedures, certification and labeling for Mexico as well as niche markets, to name a few.

 

Oliver del Cid

Oliver del Cid, Ambassador, Embassy of Belize in Mexico

“Part of the reasons for having this workshop is not only to increase the exports of commodities or primary products but also to give those Belizean producers, those small producers that have a very good product, maybe you’re not producing in large quantities but it is a product that could be very well received in Mexico.  So it’s, you know, trying to make these producers understand how they could enter the Mexican market.  Chocolate, hot sauce, those things that have value added, perhaps the market here, the Belizean market is fairly small but if they can enter Mexico and only have a fraction of that hundred and twenty million person market the company would benefit tremendously.  Obviously it would have to be high quality products in niche markets but that’s the idea.”

 

According to Carlos Manuel Perez Munguia, CEO of NYCE, efforts are being made for both countries to strengthen trade relations through strategic partnerships.

 

Carlos Manuel Perez Munguia

Carlos Manuel Perez Munguia, C.E.O., NYCE

“We have been working with the Belize Embassy in Mexico together as an association, basically we’re doing the prevention in… exporters and importers.  Right now for Mexico, for the president of Mexico it’s not only to export from Mexico to different countries, he also promotes the importations to Mexico.  So we already had three months ago with the ambassador in Tijuana, Mexico, one of the main borders in the country with the United States, promoting Belize for investment.  So we have a very great opportunity of interest from Mexican citizens from Tijuana to see this country as a potential partner.  Also, as an association we’re working together so we can push the agreement with our experience so it can be a very easy importation to Mexico with the full advice from the association and also from the Belize/Mexico Secretary of Economics.”

 

Of equal importance to driving trade and investment is tourism.  For the most part, the number of visitors from Mexico to Belize, vacationers specifically, has been rather low.  That should see significant in the months ahead.

 

Oliver del Cid

“The Embassy of Belize in Mexico has been working very hard to increase the flow of tourism traffic from Mexico to Belize.  Traditionally, it’s been only about five thousand, six thousand Mexicans per year.  That’s fully tourists coming into Belize, not the free zone or the casinos up in the area, you know.  I am talking about into Belize.  It’s difficult to understand how that level could be so low so our embassy has been trying very hard to increase that number through very, very aggressive promotions.”

 

Today’s workshop was facilitated by ExportBelize, a unit of Belize Trade and Investment Development Services. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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