During her week-long tour of Mexico earlier this month, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited Monterrey’s Research and Technology Park, indicating her country’s growing interest in widening cooperation with Mexico’s technology sector.
As many as 2,600 foreign companies operate in Monterrey and 1,600 of them are American. Moreover, northern Mexico has long been a hunting ground for America’s technology service firms.
Pritzker spent two of her five days in the state of Nuevo León, which is increasingly making a name for its growing technology industry. Though the state represents just 4%of Mexico’s population, it accounts for about 8% of Mexico’s GDP, 11% of its manufacturing, and 12% of its exports (80% of which are to U.S. service industries).
“There is clear potential to build new partnerships that strengthen the already-deep commercial ties between the United States and Mexico and to make the North American platform the most competitive in the world,” stated the Commerce Department on its website. Representatives from 17 U.S. companies looking to expand partnerships in the Mexican market joined the Secretary on her trip.
Pritzker lauded the state, saying it has created an investment-friendly environment by graduating on average 5,000 engineers every year in the past decade.
The technology park in Monterrey (PIIT) seeks to build competitiveness in northern Mexico by sowing the seeds of innovation and a knowledge-based economy. PIIT has aligned with the government, private sector companies and several US educational institutes including the University of Texas’ Global Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“Secretary Pritzker saw how Monterrey utilizes R&D dollars and cutting-edge sites such as PIIT to create dynamic clusters that accelerate economic growth and international competitiveness,” the Department’s site added.
The park initially began as a program called Monterrey International City of Knowledge, started in 2003 by Nuevo Leon Governor Jose Natividad Gonzalez Parás, is coordinating the public and private sectors to help re-position the city.
At the park, several US companies – including PepsiCo, General Electric and Motorola — are maintaining a facility in collaboration with a Mexican partner. The innovation park covers 70 acres and provides the necessary infrastructure to 30 research centers devoted to R&D, as well as the development of technology-based companies.
Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner, and approximately 1.3 billion of merchandise trade and one million people crosses the border daily.
Pritzker’s trip came as the United States is preparing to form a Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which includes Mexico, Chile and Peru. Once signed, the TPP will eliminate tariffs on goods and services between these countries and coordinate other existing trade regulations.
The TPP is going to be made up of 12 countries, most of which are America’s largest trade partners. Analysts say the TPP might rival the Euro Zone as it accounts for 40% of global GDP and 26% of global trade.