Although the United States offers the most attractive scenario to develop business ideas at this time, I wanted to draw the attention of Basque companies located there at this crucial juncture: the dream of transforming the current economic and social situation in the USA. I am reminded of the well-known Mexican song by Chava Flores, “A que le tiras cuando sueñas mexicano” (What are you dreaming my Mexican compatriot?), which not only speaks to day-dreaming, but to rolling one’s sleeves up and getting down to work to achieve one’s dreams.
All macroeconomic indicators and their consequences on the real economy are forcing us to regard the active internationalisation of our companies and organisations as the only path to remaining competitive. We must also learn to incorporate into our strategies those realities and changes which are taking place throughout the world. When considering new markets and areas of expansion, Mexico is one of the most reasonable alternatives for many sectors of preferential activity in the Basque economy.
Were he alive today, Flores himself would recognise in present-day Mexico the consequences of that utopian dream from decades ago. Although the economic gap has been closed somewhat, looking at the socio-economic reality of Mexico with a critical eye however, it is obvious that a distribution framework for social and economic development needs to be put in place. The observation Carlos Fuentes keenly made is as true today as it was then: “In Mexico class differences are not enormous, they’re insulting.”
By all accounts, the Mexican economy is presently one of the fastest growing sustained economies in the world. Exporting more than ever before, Mexico’s manufacturing capacity far outweighs that of other emerging economies. Mexico is leading the group of the so-called “multi-Latinas” companies thanks to its huge human capital and work-ready youth (90,000 engineers graduate annually from local universities), and the large number of companies active world-wide. Moreover, with markedly improved legal certainty and stability, Mexico has more than made up for the loss of American manufacturing capacity with the bulk of new jobs being created south of the Rio Grande.
Furthermore, today Mexico is one of the main destinations of foreign direct investment of Basque companies with a number of leading companies setting up shop over there, and Basque-Mexican partnerships being formed for improving competitiveness. Additionally, Mexico is also a growing source of exports, quickly becoming an intelligent platform which is favourable to the internationalisation process for Basque society as a whole.
The famous quote by the Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz: “Poor Mexico, so far from God and yet so close to United States”, which was so true for so long, has now lost any validity since joining NAFTA. This Free Trade Association is providing Mexico with an enormous economic base making it a key player in the international economy, and in the process, spurring the necessary transformation of its social structures at home.
As a member of the Basque diaspora (having been born in Mexico, D.F.), and now residing in my parents’ homeland, I feel entitled to encourage Basque companies to seriously study the possibility of using Mexico as a springboard for business activities, both for the NAFTA, and other markets. I am personally convinced that the contribution of Mexico’s cultural and entrepreneurial diversity will strengthen our organisations in order to successfully compete in the global.
*Originally published in El Economista, 19/11/2012