CAMPECHE – The new Opportunity in Mexico

Located in the south-east region of the Mexican Republic, Campeche is the new opportunity for business investment in Mexico. This is because of its infinite diversity of natural resources, strategic location and rich selection of arts and handcrafts.

The capital city of the State is the City of Campeche, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In addition to the City of Campeche, the State includes the cities of Champoton, Ciudad del Carmen and Escarcega. Other towns found there include Calkini, Dzitbaclhe, and Hecelchakan Hopelchen, Lerma, Tenabo and Sabuncuy.

Fernando Ortega Barnes is the Governor of Campeche. He chatted with MexicoNOW. “Campeche,” he said, “just like every other State in Mexico, offers the world many excellent competitive advantages. This makes it one of the most reliable sites anywhere for doing business.”

“The State Government,” Governor Ortega continued, “…has been an important ally for investors by creating the scenarios and the conditions required for the generation of new investment. This in turn gets translated into one of the most successful financial strategies with which to face the world economic crisis. In Campeche,” explained the Governor, “we are generating jobs for new employees and in this way achieving the welfare for the people here.”

The State of Campeche features many competitive advantages to offer new and already established investments. Campeche has an enviable geographic position. It is the port of entry to the Peninsula of Yucatan. Its border to the north is shared with the State of Yucatan and the Gulf of Mexico. To the east we have Quintana Roo and Belize and to the south the Republic of Guatemala and Tabasco. On the west there is Tabasco State and the Gulf of Mexico. The State has a territorial extension of 56,859 square kilometers which makes it number one in area for any peninsula at the nation level.

The quality of life is without any doubt one of the State’s most important trademarks. Many financial institutions have established in the State. This gives Campeche financial certainty in both industry and commerce.

The health sector is another area where the State has been developed in an important way during the last few months. This comes with the establishment of important health centers with state-of-the-art technology.

The labor force is one of the strengths of the State. At this time, the State has a population of 797,137 inhabitants and 44% are economically active. Also, 53,347 students are registered in bachelor’s and superior levels. This group represents great potential for professionals entering diverse fields.

Enrique Escalante is the Secretary of Commercial and Industrial Development for Campeche. He complemented Governor Ortega by explaining: “Our State without a doubt is the gateway for the world market. Important opportunities are found in-State in industries like the agro industry, renewable energy, rock aggregates, the petrochemical industry, forestry and the furniture sectors, as well as tourism and all the corresponding support and supply services.”

Governor Ortega explained that the State has been able to successfully provide vital links between the educational and productive sectors. This has meant being able to satisfy the requirements for the needed skills and capabilities necessary for the State’s economic development.

“In addition,” Ortega pointed out, “…the State provides an academic offering of 189 professional options from bachelors’ degrees, university and technical studies, as well as 66 different post-graduate study opportunities. Altogether this places us in a position to offer a highly qualified level of graduates.”

The State of Campeche, according to Ortega, has an outstanding infrastructure. In this respect, He highlights Campeche as the main producer of crude oil nationally and it has a solid infrastructure to offer investors and entrepreneurs. All this in addition to a general population living in a strategically communicated State where there are 4,428 kilometers of railroads and 385 kilometers of rail network. These rail lines connect Campeche with the States of Yucatan, Tabasco, Chiapas and Oaxaca. The State comes with two international airports which are located in the Campeche and Ciudad del Carmen municipalities. Both airports provide daily fiights to Mexico City and Houston, Texas.

Campeche has two important maritime ports located in Ciudad del Carmen and at Seybaplaya, Champoton. These two ports link the State to national markets in the States of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco and Yucatan, as well as with international destinations in the U.S. in the States of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. Logistically, according to Secretary Enrique Escalante, Campeche has been recognized as a great opportunity for investment coming from foreign countries.

Escalante mentioned that most of the investment comes from Norway, Singapore and the U.S. This input ranks Campeche nationally as the 18th State in Mexico in total Foreign Direct Investment.

The most important industrial groups are dedicated to the textile and light manufacturing industries. To mention a few there are Grupo Karims; Grupo Mall; Grupo ICA; and GICSA. The list also includes Grupo Altex; Grupo Buenaventura and Grupo Energetico del Sureste.

Yusuf Amdani is the CEO of Grupo Karims. He explained the firm this way: “Grupo Karims has been operating in Campeche since 1998 and since then we have built more than 2.5 million square feet. Currently we have more than 3,000 collaborators in our plants as well as in our tenant and business partner plants. In one of our industrial parks we have one of the largest sock manufacturing operations in Latin America.”

Amdani continued to elaborate: “We closely work with some of the largest brands in the apparel business and have been successfully doing so in a productive and competitive way. We have also invested in the hospitality and tourism industry. We have developed a 98-room business class hotel; we also have presence in residential and commercial real estate with two on-going projects.”

“We want to cater to specific needs with efficiency, honesty and an on-time basis. Our aim is to make clients our allies and partners in every business opportunity” explained the CEO of Grupo Karims.

According to Yusuf Amdani, the strategic location of Campeche is the key in addition to the right infrastructure in highways, airport, and an easily accessible port. “All these factors when put together,” he says, “allow us to access the market rapidly and efficiently. Campeche definitely has the potential to become a vital logistics hub in the southern part of Mexico.” “Campeche,” he added, “will hold its position due to our proximity with the main U.S. ports and we expect that the apparel and textile operations will continue to position themselves as a destination for investment in this industry.”

One of the companies of Grupo Karims is Calkini Shirt Company which employees 675 people. They produce products for MEDLINE, Fruit of the Loom and A4. Max Jones is the Manager of the Company and he explained it this way: “It has been a very successfully operation since 2003. It was acquired by Karims Group Mexico and we started with 150 employees and have over 675 today. In 2007 this plant had already won the award for the “Best Services Supplier” given by Fruit of the Loom.

All of this is due the dedication of every employee and all the help given by local government.”

Calkini Shirt Company was the first Maquiladora plant to operate in Campeche. It started back in the year 1998 and at this time it has 77,000 square feet of construction.

Karims Textile and Apparel is another Maquiladora plant owned by Grupo Karims. With almost 600 employees, this company produces 90% of their products for export and only 10%, according to Alfredo Flores, Manager of the Plant, for the domestic market.

“The State of Campeche keeps growing their social security, quality of life and a well-trained labor force that gives us synergy in all the development projects,” observed Flores.

In this way, Amdani continued, mentioning that just recently A.T. Kearney published in their Annual Foreign Direct Investment Report that Mexico is ranked in position #5 as a destination for light manufacturing and textile businesses. He believes this rating is directly tied to the big advantages the country has to offer with regard to productivity and competitiveness.

Enrique Escalante, Secretary of Commercial and Industrial Development, had this to say: “Campeche is ranked 7th nationwide as the most accessible State for starting a business,” he said. “With this result in mind,” he added, “…our State is being ranked with the other States bordering with Campeche as being one of the most important places on the Yucatan Peninsula.”

Yusuf Amdani concluded by mentioning: “Fortunately we have been very successful due to the quality of our human capital, as well as the world-class infrastructure found in the State of Campeche and outstanding Government support. Our business has steadily grown since we started operations in Campeche. And even through the economical downturn our operations have seen an increase in a number of other key areas ranging from potential customers interested in the competitive advantages we have to offer, to other factors such as our strategic geographic location. This is due to our proximity to the largest market in the world, fast response time and our highly productive operations.”

Fernando Ortega, Governor of Campeche summarized things this way: “Campeche is ready to take-off and consolidate existing progress,” he said, “…in order to offer attractive and dynamic proposals for business.

The economic development of our State is unpostponable and we invite everyone to share in our abundance and enjoy Campeche just like we do.”