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Businesses target Mexican market

The Belize Trade and Investment Development Services (BELTRADE) is collaborating with the Embassy of Belize in Mexico in keeping with its objective to promote realistic export-ready products to reachable markets. The initiative is being conducted through ExportBelize, BELTRADE which highlights business opportunities from both trade markets that complement each other. Michael Singh CEO, in the Ministry of Trade and Investments spoke to us about the aim of the workshop.

Michael Singh – CEO, Ministry of Investment and Trade

“The meeting today is the third in a series that we’ve been promoting for exporting Belizean products to different regions and through collaborations with the Belize Embassy in Mexico and through a lot of work put on their behalf as well as collaboration with our group in Belize we were able to put together a very high level team of experts from Mexico that will work with our exporters to understand markets, procedures, policies and hopefully help them with their quest to expand markets into Mexico.”

 Singh also says that since there are only two customs stations at borders, one in Belize and one in Chiapas, this is an opportunity for Belize to become the gateway for Central America into Mexico.

 Michael Singh – CEO, Ministry of Investment and Trade

“There is only two customs stations at borders in the Southern part of Mexico and one of them is in Belize and the other is all the way in Chiapas. Now that was very profound for me to see that and if you’ve seen the development that is happening at the Northern border both on the Mexican side and the Belize side the idea is to modernize that border to create the potential for easier and more efficient crossings but also to have the facilities for all the trade agencies that will facilitate trade. Now what that shows to me is that we have an opportunity in Belize to actually become the gateway for Central America into Mexico 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 country south of Belize and Mexico which is the gateway to NAFTA so I think what we are doing today and what we are talking about under the PSA should really set the stage for Belize to understand its role as to how we can become that conduit and how we can benefit not just from our directorate into Mexico but also transshipments that can come through Belize.”

Ambassador of Belize in Mexico, Oliver Del Cid says that the workshop is not only to increase export of primary products but to expose small businesses to the Mexican market.

Olivier del Cid – Ambassador to Mexico

“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 five thousand or six thousand Mexicans per year. That is fully tourists coming in to Belize, not the free zone or to the Casinos up in the area but I am talking about into Belize. It’s difficult to understand how that level could be so low so our embassy has been trying hard to increase that number through very very aggressive promotions. In fact this week we are having a familiarization trip. In fact we are bringing in travel agencies and Mexican media and working with BTIA and they will be touring mostly Northern Belize, Orange Walk, Corozal and the Cayes so that they can now return to Mexico pushing the Belizean tourism product more aggressively. It’s something we intend to do many times over the next few years. BTIA fully understands the need to open up that Mexican market and we find Mexicans to be very receptive and very open to that possibility. It’s a shame that we have been so close, sharing the border but yet so far so for them it’s a very exotic experience to come to Belize but we see a lot of potential in that and we think over the next five years we will see a great increase.

The Ambassador explains how they are working to increase the number of Mexican tourists coming into Belize since it is only an estimated five to six thousand Mexicans that cross over into Belize.

Olivier del Cid – Ambassador to Mexico

A part of the reason 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 they are not producing in large quantities but it is a product that could be very well received in Mexico. So it is trying to make these producers understand how they can enter the Mexican market. Chocolate hot sauce, those things that have value added. The Belizean market is very small but if they can enter Mexico and only have a fraction of that hundred and twenty million person market, the company will benefit tremendously, obviously would have to be high quality products in niche markets but that is the idea of having these workshops.