The 12th edition of the Mexico Business Summit was recently held in Querétaro from October 26 to the 28, 2014. This year was the third time that the summit had taken place in the state, after being moved to Guadalajara in 2013. The theme of this year’s summit was “Tapping into Mexico’s New Sources of Growth.”
Querétaro proved to be the ideal location for the summit this year, due to its numerous work opportunities and industrial growth, as well as the state’s peace and stability. The 2014 summit focused on advancements made thanks to reforms put into place by the Peña Nieto administration. Another focus of the summit was on improved prospects in Europe and the US, which are paving the way for Mexico’s economy and sustained growth. Another area of focus during the summit was the newly competitive telecom sector and business opportunities created by energy reform.
Querétaro may be one of Mexico’s smallest states, but it is also one of the country’s most diverse states in several ways. Geographically, the state contains a great mix, including rainforests and deserts. Industrially, the state is economically one of the most important states in Mexico.
The state consists of five economic regions, which focus on industry, handicrafts and textiles, or agriculture. The aeronautic industry is also becoming more and more prominent in Querétaro. Miquel Aleman Velasco, the President of the Organizing Committee for the Business Summit, told El Economista that the growth of the aeronautic cluster in the state was one of the main reasons why the committee decided to bring the summit back to Querétaro.
Jose Calzada Rovirosa, the current governor of Querétaro, proudly pointed out the growth being experienced in and by the state. He stated that “there will be major announcements within sectors like aeronautical, automotive, and electronic. Some of the [announcements will be] very significant and historic for Querétaro in the sectors in which they are investing.”
Calzada Rovirosa was also quick to point out that the state has a healthy job outlook, “next year we will have a major impact in this area,” he said. “The economy is going very well, the job creation and growth has been really interesting. The government does not create jobs. It creates the conditions for the entrepreneurs that create jobs.”
Querétaro is one state in Mexico that is seeing a great deal of improvement when it comes to employment. Its governor stresses that Querétaro isn’t alone in making jobs: “We are not only the state that generates more jobs, but also the state that has the most mobility of employment in the country.”
This Year’s Business Summit
As growth was the theme of the summit this year, the state was an ideal venue for the Mexico Business Summit as it’s growing at a slightly quicker pace than the rest of the country, too. As Calzada Rovirosa notes, “our country, is growing approximately 10 percent per year. In Queretaro, the sector grows at 15 percent per year.”
Topics and speakers covered a lot of ground over the course of three days. The summit kicked off on Sunday, October 26 with remarks from Calzada Rovirosa, Aleman Velasco and Oscar Peralta Casares, a representative from the state’s business community. A special address was delivered by Andrés Rozental, a former deputy foreign minister for Mexico and the current president of Rozental and Associates.
The first panel of the summit, “Make it Mexico’s Moment,” featured a number of business leaders, from companies such as Kimberly-Clark Mexico and Consejo Coordinador Empresarial, as well as Mexican Secretary of Finance. The panel used the 11 reforms put forth by the Pena Nieto administration as a jumping off point and to explore whether the present time was “Mexico’s moment” or not.
The country’s gross domestic product growth in 2014 is projected to be about 2.5 percent, which is higher than in 2013, but still below what it could be. The panelists discussed developments and factors that could improve growth in the country and push it to the top among new growth countries.
On the second day of the summit, the focus shifted to energy, finance and water, as well as education and security challenges facing the country. One panel zeroed in on the potential water crisis facing Mexico, looking closely at the role the private sector can play in addressing the water issue in the country and examining the response of other regions and countries to similar water issues.
On the final day of the summit, topics included sustainability, women and the recent economic crisis. Panels on October 28 took a close look at the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and at Mexico’s relationship with the European Union, particularly after the economic crisis.
The Mexico Business Summit has benefited the state and country in several ways, particularly in the form of new investments. A number of companies invested in Querétaro after the summits held in 2011 and 2012. The hope is that the 2014 summit will bring even more investors to the state.