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LAREDO, Texas – On March 10-11, 2016 a delegation from Laredo, Texas, led by municipal authorities Mayor Pete Saenz and City Manager Jesus Olivares, accompanied by state Rep. Richard Peña Raymond and Uni-Trade’s CEO Eduardo Garza, traveled to Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico to meet with several potential partners.

The delegation was hosted by the City of Pesquería, Nuevo León, one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico and the location of the new KIA Motors Mexico assembly plant.

Press Conference and Sister Cities Agreement

The Ambassador Hotel in downtown Monterrey was the venue where representatives from Laredo and Pesquería, as well as state and federal elected officials from Mexico, spoke to the media about the
purpose of a Sister Cities agreement signed by Mayor Pete Saenz, Mayor Miguel Angel Lozano and members of both delegations.

One of the main objectives explained by Pesquería Mayor Miguel Angel Lozano is to develop a collaboration and exchange of best practices in different areas of operation, and increase trade between the two cities. He also highlighted the importance of the support from their state government in solving the current issues with KIA and the infrastructure improvements that will be key to the growing automobile industry in Pesquería.

Mayor Pete Saenz stated that Laredo is open for business and is a preeminent international commercial hub with the expertise on automotive trade. Laredo wants to share its best practices and infrastructure as the number one inland Port in America, providing a competitive advantage to Pesquería through a direct connection between them and Laredo.

Each mutual effort will result in economic growth and an increase in trade, for both cities. “We will work together with Pesquería in different areas including specialized training where Laredo is strong, such as police and fire”, explained the City Manager, Jesus Olivares.

Meeting with Governor of Nuevo León

The Governor of the State of Nuevo León, Jaime Rodriguez Calderon, welcomed the Laredo delegation, at his office in downtown Monterrey. During the meeting he mentioned that they are working together with Pesquería on the different issues derived from the growth of the automobile industry in this region.

Also at the meeting, was Nuevo León’s State Representative, Adrian de la Garza, who spoke about the work that has been done at the Colombia Bridge to increase the trade between Nuevo León and Laredo, and the advantages of using this bridge to cross goods into the United States.

From the Laredo delegation, Representative Richard Peña Raymond, thanked the Governor for welcoming this trade mission to his state and reiterated the importance that Nuevo León has for Texas,
especially for Laredo.

Tour of KIA Motors Mexico and Hyundai Mobis

The KIA Motors assembly plant is one of the most important projects for the City of Pesquería as well as for the State of Nuevo León bringing a large investment to the region, and solving the infrastructure challenges will require the coordination of different levels of the Mexican government.

Seong Byek Im, president of KIA Motors Mexico welcomed the Laredo delegation to the brand new plant. With state-of-the-art equipment, this new addition to the region will bring the best of the
automobile industry to Nuevo León.

After a brief explanation of the history of KMM, the group was taken to the heliport for an impressive view of the complex. Due to its “just in time” process, most of their suppliers are building factories around the main KIA plant, which is expected to result in more growth for the municipality and additional trade opportunities for Laredo as some of them also export other goods.

The main concern for both KIA and the City of Pesquería is to have the infrastructure needed to move all the production out of the plant and into the United States. Their main goal is to use the railroads to achieve this, due to the high volume of goods and parts and with the expectation that the highway system would reach its full capacity in the near future. KIA and other companies like Hyundai Mobis will start operating in Nuevo León in May of 2016. With an expected production this year of 200,000 vehicles, increasing to 300,000 in 2017 and 400,000 in 2018.

They are planning on 65 percent of the production being exported to the U.S., 20 percent to Mexico and the rest to Central and South America. This automobile industry complex is the first one for KIA in Nuevo León and the largest one in Mexico occupying 1,235 acres and employing 14,000 individuals.

Press Conference and Agreement with COMCE Noreste

During the second day of the trip, the Laredo Delegation met with the Consejo Mexicano de Comercio Exterior del Noreste (COMCE) and their president, Hector Villarreal Muraira, with the objective of reiterating the agreement previously signed in Laredo. COMCE’s membership of 1500 trade an logistics companies represent, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Coahuila and Durango. The agreement promotes Laredo as the primary port for crossing goods, thereby achieving a more efficient and cost effective process.

During a brief presentation, the Laredo delegation spoke about the new airport Federal Inspection Station and the opportunities that it brings. Mayor Pete Saenz as well as City Manager Jesus Olivares conveyed that Laredo is providing economic incentives for reinvestment, expansion and new companies moving to Laredo.

Casa Laredo – Semana Santa Press Conference

After visiting the Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau satellite office in Monterrey, Casa Laredo, the delegation attended the Semana Santa Press Conference at Quinta Real. Members of 15 different media outlets covered the event where City Manager Jesus Olivares and Mayor Pete Saenz welcomed them to the event. As Marketing Manager of the Laredo CVB, I spoke about the Semana Santa campaign that focuses on promoting the different activities that families can enjoy in Laredo, Texas. I invited the people of Monterrey to visit the Laredo kiosks at the Nuevo Sur Mall and San Pedro de Pinta through Semana Santa where they will find an interactive display with a city map and a coupon for Macy’s. The message is focused on showing our visitors more about the new restaurants, shops and attractions that Laredo has to offer.