8/17/2015 10:14:43 AM
Gov. Mark Dayton and an official delegation are back in Minnesota after a week-long trade mission to Mexico. And they've come home very impressed with the sophisticated technology and business operations they saw.
Gov. Dayton called the visit to Mexico the most productive trade mission I've ever been involved in and said he'd like to make a return visit to the state's second-largest export market sometime within the next 12 to 15 months.
And with good reason, says Kathleen Motzenbecker, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office.
"Seeing what the country has done to nurture and develop its high-tech and information technology capabilities was one of the high points of the mission," says Motzenbecker. Mexico is not just an up-and-coming market. It's a market that's already arrived.
The delegation saw the progress firsthand as they toured facilities in Guadalajara, often called Mexico's "Silicon Valley." They visited the Guadalajara Software Center, which hosts 36 companies. It was designed to promote a business environment and help technology companies generate strategic alliances to develop new products and services. The companies work in collaboration with the government and programs that promote entrepreneurism, technological design and innovation.
Companies in the center focus on a broad range of IT areas including software; multimedia; videogames; web development; hosting; eLearning; IT certifications; telecommunications; government solutions; call center services; business process outsourcing (BPO) and information technology outsourcing (ITO); and technology counseling and training.
The delegation also toured the Intel Guadalajara Design Center. The company's largest engineering operation in Latin America, the GDC is focused on delivering Intel's next-generation hardware, software and system products.
"Software. Call centers. Web development. These are industries where Minnesota companies have broad expertise," says Motzenbecker. "There's all sorts of potential for Minnesota and Mexican companies to work together to develop new high-tech products and services."
Delegation members also got an up-close look at the top-shelf business support capabilities available to Minnesota companies that export to or have operations in Mexico. They took a guided tour of Grupo FH, which provides integrated logistics and international trade services throughout the complete supply chain.
Grupo FH focuses on industries that have specialized processes, including chemical, high fashion, specialized watchmaking, electrical, electronic, health, cosmetics, automobile, construction and food sectors. The company serves as the distribution center of Boston Scientific and many other well-known firms.
"The level of logistical support and expertise is tremendous. It really highlights the advantages of the Mexican market for Minnesota companies looking to do business there," says Motzenbecker.
"There's growing demand for the manufactured goods, services and agricultural commodities we have to sell. There are abundant opportunities for partnerships and investment. And it's all right at our doorstep, not half a world away."
Mexico is a major market for Minnesota corn, soybeans, wheat and poultry. State Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson said the trade mission helped the agricultural contingent of the delegation make some important contacts set the stage for ongoing relationships.
Coming down here, looking people in the eye, making a personal connection with someone who has an interest in either exporting product or importing product makes all the difference, said Frederickson.
Gov. Mark Dayton and the trade delegation tour the Intel Guadalajara Design Center, the company's largest engineering operation in Latin America.