TT will expand its business relations with Mexico through the TT Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) Doing Business with the World Series.
TTCSI president Vashti Guyadeen said the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1966, 57 years ago.
"Indeed, one of the most significant investments Mexico made in TT was when cement producer Cemex – one of the largest cement companies in the world – became the majority owner of Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) in Claxton Bay.
"At the multilateral level, both our countries are members of and partners in the Association of Caribbean States, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Organisation of American States and the UN among many other world-changing institutions," Guyadeen said.
She was speaking at the TTCSI webinar on Doing Business with Mexico on September 14.
She added that in 2006 the two countries signed a bilateral investment treaty which led to Mexico's making significant investment in TT's construction sector via its ownership of TCL.
"From that time, and prior to the covid19 pandemic, TT and Mexico saw the trade growing between them reach double-digit figures year on year, close to 30 per cent at one point in the mid-2010s.
"Valued at some US$366 million in 2013 alone, much of that was driven by Mexico's natural gas, liquid ammonia and methanol purchases from TT, and TT’s import of minerals, refrigerators, prepared foods, iron and steel pipes, PVC and more, from Mexico."
Guyadeen added that TT is Mexico's third largest trading partner and in Caricom, specifically, TT is Mexico's main trade partner and Mexico's Ambassador Victor Hugo Morales Melendez has been working hard to grow the trade even further, to ensure that Mexico is among TT’s top five trading partners in the world.
Last year, Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon opened the door for a greater flow of agricultural products, manufactured goods and industrial services, between the two countries. That agreement was cemented by the visit of a Mexican trade mission to TT a year ago, in a demonstration of goodwill and investment interest.
Addressing Melendez, Guyadeen said she is aware of Mexico's nearshoring passion, which transformed the Mexican economy, and its desire to incorporate the Caribbean in the same opportunities.
"Indeed, we at TTCSI are eager to work closely with you on fully exploring and developing the potential for nearshoring as a revenue earner and investment magnet for TT and Caricom. TTCSI just a few days ago worked with the Caricom Private Sector Organisation to prepare a paper for the Caricom Secretariat highlighting the importance of the region as a nearshoring hub."
She said the reason for the move into nearshoring is because of the earnings it brings; Mexico earned US$35 billion in investments from international companies moving their operations there, using it as a gateway to US markets.
"In addition, as the sixth largest automobile producer in the world and the fourth largest automobile exporter in the world, Mexico provides an incredible opportunity for TT services companies in the automotive sector."
Guyadeen added that Mexico is also a "tourism powerhouse," as the sixth most favoured destination in the world, earning US$35 billion and welcoming 40 million visitors globally.
"Tourism has helped the Mexican economy rebound quickly in the post-pandemic era, and perhaps there are opportunities for possible joint ventures for our TT tourism operators and services companies with their Mexican counterparts. We look forward to exploring partnerships.
"It can be argued that one part of Mexico which can be called a 'tourism mecca' is Cancun. In April 2022, Cancun was the home of a special five-day, four-night all-inclusive getaway called Mele Destinations – the brainchild of our very own cultural ambassador and iconic King of Soca Machel Montano, in partnership with Tribe Carnival."
Mele Destinations was hosted in Cancun again this year from September 7-11 and bookings at partner resorts were past 50 per cent before the end of August. Guyadeen said the 2024 edition is expected to be bigger.
She said coming from this partnership are endless possibilities for TT's services small to medium enterprises (SMEs), which are eager to do export business around the world.
In helping SMEs, Guyadeen said one of the important steps was creating a national services exporters portal (NSEP) – a portal that allows TT’s services-sector firms to be seen by and make connections with services-sector firms in other countries.