Business delegation visits Mexico and Cuba

Led by the Niedersachsen Economics Ministry, a 30-strong delegation visited Mexico and Cuba in mid-June.

Setting up important business contacts and sounding out trade opportunities were the aims of the delegation from north Germany's business community – and conditions for this task couldn't be more different than in Mexico and Cuba.

The main events of the 6-day trip stopping off at Mexico City, Guadalajara and Havana were business and political discussions, B2B cooperation fairs and visits to companies.

Germany is already one of Mexico's most important European trading partners, and Niedersachsen also cultivates close contacts with Latin America's third-largest country. Since the American presidential election Mexico's future trading relations with the USA are uncertain - just the right moment for Niedersachsen to present its advantages as a trading partner, and company representatives seized this chance at the B2B exchange in Mexico City. Delegation members summed up the results of face-to-face discussions with their Mexican opposite numbers: practical, positive responses and a country with great potential.

In meetings at the Agriculture Ministry in Mexico City the existing framework conditions could be explored and problems with importing foodstuffs discussed. Ralf Borchers, head of SMU development at the Niedersachsen Economics Ministry, expressed himself optimistically: “We were received with open arms and were able to talk about all the issues in a congenial atmosphere. We were shown practical steps towards solutions – altogether a very fruitful meeting.”

The second stop after Mexico City was Guadalajara in the State of Jalisco. In ‘Mexico’s Silicon Valley’ the delegation formed their own impressions at the German company Boehringer Ingelheim of what it means to succeed in business in Mexico.

The delegation’s last call was in Havana, Cuba, where their purpose was less to set up specific business relations, more to find out how far the country had opened for business. Cuba’s tourism sector is booming and also offers great potential for German companies. The new special economic zone of Mariel, about 40 kilometres to the west of Havana, is an example of how welcome foreign investment is. The daily realities indicate, however, that Cuba is still under the powerful influence of the command economy and business opportunities are developing only slowly.

Nevertheless, a cooperation fair together with the Cuban chamber of trade generated some very promising results. Around 30 representatives of Cuban companies came to talk to delegation members about business possibilities.