Luis Aguirre – President, CNIMME

How many member-companies are in the CNIMME?

The National Council of Manufacturing and Maquiladora for Exportation has now confirmed 1,200 active members and we are looking to expand the number this year.

Please describe the plan of action you hope to develop during your tenure as President of CNIMME:

Last January 20th we presented our agenda for 2011. We are working in diverse fields such as institutionalizing CNIMME, improving competitiveness, expanding legal certainty and developing logistics.

Regarding the institutionality of CNIMME, we are looking to develop the potential of our Council with political actions aimed at the three governmental powers. For instance, in the Executive context we are getting closer to the Ministries of the Treasury and Economy. The Legislature of Mexico is also quite important for us and for the first time the legislature has created a special commission for the maquiladora sector.

As far as the institutionality of the Council goes we are also working on innovation in different sectors of CNIMME. This is where the leaders, who are former Presidents of our Council, have as their main objective a vision of our future. This is being planned with a flow chart that will result in an increase in our competitivity. For us it is also important to secure and grow our regional positioning where clear examples of sustained growth can now be found in Queretaro and Aguascalientes.

We are also providing legal certainty by getting closer to the extension of the IETU for the IMMEX and Shelter companies with the help and support provided by the Treasury Ministry and the Chamber of Deputies.

In the context of institutionality, an important topic on our agenda is labor reform. This is where we have worked for over a year with the legislature. Unfortunately, however, because of political issues this reform has been postponed.

The second area of our Action Plan has to do with the competitiveness of our Council. In this regard one important player for us is the SAT (Tributary Administration Secretary).

Working together we have opened a system identified as a “unique window” for transactions in the Treasury Ministry. We also are hard at work to increase the number of members who can take full advantage of the models created by CNIMME in order to increase their competitiveness by reducing their costs and turnaround times which certainly have important impacts on all the plants.

The area we identify as legal certainty is very important for foreign companies. We are now able to accomplish the diverse adjudications required by globalization. We are providing all the preventive and corrective actions needed along with establishing a trustable customs authority.

Logistics is where we are building important schemes such as the inclusion of an Asian – Western Mexico flight. This is an opportunity to reduce costs and time for the importation of goods and materials and then returning the final product to Asia.

What is your main objective as the President of CNIMME?

It is to move forward on our agenda. The issue of providing an environment of trust in Mexico is one of my main objectives. This certainly has to be done carefully mainly in fiscal matters. I also want to see to it that CNIMME has a revitalized role in industry and our services need to be institutionalized.

Which sectors have recently shown the most impressive industrial development?

Mexico continues being projected as one of the most competitive industrial players worldwide. The Aerospace industry has shown, for instance, an enormous growth. And another example is the Automotive industry which has experienced an important boom that can be expected to be one of the most outstanding periods in the history of the auto manufacturing industry.

There are also new sectors that will keep growing in Mexico. Among them is the environmental industry. Through technical developments it has generated sophisticated components providing sustainability in our industry. Very soon we will also be hearing good news from the medical industry.

Which regions have shown the most impressive industrial development lately?

I can see harmonious growth in Mexico with real possibilities along the border states where there is a well-established supply chain. In this region security is an issue that we have to be aware of.

There are also other regions that will keep growing. We have to look forward keeping an eye on our competitivity and keep up the effort to recover from the latest global recession. This is one area where we have shown really well-coordinated work between the authorities and private sector.

We will continue capitalizing on investments as long as we are able to provide fiscal certainty along with competitive logistic costs.

There have been modifications in the laws concerning the maquiladoras. From your position, what do you want people to understand about them?

This certainly points to the IMMEX decree. After 18 months of negotiating with the Mexican government, we have finally published this new decree. The decree has important points that have been worked out for the benefit of the industry. For example, we eliminated several cancellation clauses in the program. This results in cost advantages for the maquiladora industry. Also, there are important changes in the validation process for a new IMMEX program. Most important among the benefits is the period of time for temporary importation for certified companies. Instead of having just 18 months for temporary importation, it is now 36 months, or it can be up to 60 months, depending on certification. This opens many new market options. This is a good thing for the maquiladora industry to be able to offer new value-added services to the OEM’s.

What is the latest news concerning the IETU, the new corporate fixed income tax regimen in Mexico?

This tax went into effect in 2008. The IETU will expire at the end of this year, 2011. We are working very hard on this issue. This is very important for the maquiladora industry. If this is not authorized to continue past 2011 there could very well be a cost impact. We are showing the government the numbers that support the importance of this industry. We are emphasizing, for example, what this investment means to the country and how the generation of new jobs impacts employment.

What about environmental considerations within the framework of CNIMME?

As an industry we are always promoting and as a result we have better environmental conditions. We have green industries which we are also pushing. We are already preparing aggressive projects for the maquiladora industry in order to implement new technology to save energy, recycle water used in the production process, and to establish viable standards. We want to be the leader in Mexico when it comes to this important field.

What will make you feel most satisfied at the end of your tenure as President of CNIMME?

I will be satisfied if we are able to set the basis for a fiscal contribution in Mexico. This is an important goal to be able to offer certainty to investors. We need to generate more employment and offer better labor conditions for our workforce. I also hope to be able to generate more fiscal benefits for approval of labor reform by the deputy chamber.

I hope, at the end of my tenure as President, to say that Mexico is a first option for foreign investment with world class infrastructure.

Any comment you would like to add for MexicoNOW subscribers?

I want to invite everyone who is not at present a part of the CNIMME to become Council associates. For those already affiliated we hope to see them working closely along with their local committees. We want to get closer to them so we can come to know all the aggregate values and services that we are working on for the good of exports from Mexico.