REYNOSA, Tamaulipas – INDEX Reynosa, the trade association for maquila plants in Reynosa, has launched a new website aimed at disseminating positive news to the general public and the media, in addition to its membership.
The website, indexreynosa.news, is available in English as well as Spanish. INDEX Reynosa spokesman Aldo Hernandez said this is because most managers at the plants prefer to get their news in English.
“Originally, we were thinking of putting out a new monthly newsletter, not just for members but for the general public and the media. But then we thought, there is so much information to announce about the industry, both nationally and locally, that it would make more sense to have a new, improved, website,” Hernandez told the Rio Grande Guardian.
“At the moment we are updating the website every week but in the near future I can see it being updated every day. There is a lot of good information to disseminate. For example, many maquila firms do a lot of work in the community. You would be surprised how much they do. They clean the streets around the factory, they clean the plazas, they try to make the city more beautiful. We want the public to know about this.”
A top story on the new website right now, which was filed by Notimex, quotes Angel Ortiz Salazar interim secretary of economic development and tourism in Tamaulipas, as saying foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tamaulipas could reach to more than $847 million in 2016.
“The achievements in foreign investment are the result of the close relationship between employers, agencies, developers and federal and municipal governments to raise awareness in Mexico and the world of the competitive advantages of Tamaulipas,” Ortiz Salazar told Notimex.
He added that Tamaulipas has been one of the top eight states in Mexico for attracting foreign direct investment over the past 15 years. Over the last five years, FDI in Tamaulipas has topped more than $5 billion.
Ortiz Salazar’s remarks echo those made by INDEX Reynosa President Alex Avila when he spoke to visitors from the Rio Grande Valley recently. McAllen Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) organized a 54-passenger bus tour of industrial parks in Reynosa and one of the stops was at the maquila where Avila is manager, Sanmina.
“Our economy is growing. We have more than 100,000 direct jobs in manufacturing in Reynosa and 500,000 indirect jobs,” Avila said. In July, 2015, direct jobs in manufacturing in Reynosa stood at 98,800.
A handout issued by INDEX Reynosa to those who participated on the tour stated that the group’s objectives are to:
• Promote interest generally in maquiladoras and manufacturing
• Promote cooperation, harmony and friendship between members
• Promote positive working relationships with City, State and Federal authorities
• Share information and improve strategies and techniques
• Promote compliance with local regulations
• Promote communication and cooperation within the local community
• Protect the environment
MEDC President Keith Patridge said the purpose of the visit to Reynosa was two-fold. One, to show how increasingly interwoven the economies of the McAllen area and Reynosa have become. And two, to show that Reynosa is not the “war zone” many media outlets portray it to be.
Avila spoke in depth about the issue of violence in Reynosa during his remarks at the Sanmina factory.
“Three years ago we had a problem. But, we worked with the federal government, the state government and the municipal government to make sure the Armed Forces were here. We do not see the violence any more. When we are bringing new companies we are not talking about violence anymore,” Avila said.
Avila urged those on the tour to go back to the Valley and tell people what they saw with their own eyes. The tour, which included lunch with Reynosa Mayor Pepe Elías Leal, passed without incident.
“We have to change the perception. How many of you guys have been in Chicago? How many of you guys have been in Dallas? How many of you guys have been in Houston? Do you know the homicide rate over there? It is ten times higher than the region here. It is the way you see it,” Avila said.
“Everyone can whine. But I prefer to be part of the solution. We are not there yet. But it is an opportunity to get better. You guys are the ambassadors to change the perception outside.”
Avila then pointed to all the negative travel warnings put out by the State Department. “Don’t travel to Mexico? Have you ever seen a message saying, don’t travel to Chicago? Have you ever seen a message, don’t travel to Houston? It is good to be here. We are a big city. We will keep pushing and keep working with the federal government to keep this place safe,” Avila said.
Avila added: “If we do not work together we will lose together. We took ownership (one the issue of violence) and it is getting better all the time. But, if we were to lose 700,000 jobs, what impact would that have in McAllen, Harlingen, or Brownsville? A big impact.”
A handout issued by MEDC of a power-point presentation given by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas economist Roberto Coronado showed how interwoven the economies of McAllen and Reynosa have become. One slide showed that when it comes to employment trends, the McAllen economy and Reynosa maquiladora plants are closely related.
“A ten percent increase in maquiladora output leads to a 6.6 percent increase in total employment in McAllen,” Coronado said. “The bulk of the impact is on the service of the economy.”
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling said one of the key things he learned on the tour of Reynosa was the volume of skilled workers that work each day in Reynosa but live in McAllen and surrounding cities.
“We knew that about 2,500 plant managers go over there every day. But what we did not know is that they have about 1,600 employees that also cross, primarily engineers and skilled workers. They cross into Reynosa every day. Some people want to build a border fence. They need to look over that fence and see how important Mexico is to us as a community,” Darling said.