LAREDO, Texas – Tamaulipas Secretary of Economic Development Carlos W. Talancón Ostos will visit South Korea, Japan and China next month to land Tier One and Two suppliers for the KIA Motors plant in Pesquería near Monterrey.

In an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Talancón Ostos said KIA does not want suppliers located near their plant because they do not want to compete with them for skilled workers.

Having suppliers based in Tamaulipas is much more advantageous for KIA, Talancón Ostos said. He said he met last month with the president of KIA. KIA has a 2.9 million square foot facility in Pesquería near Monterrey.

“We’re gonna go next month to Korea, to Japan and to China. One of the important things for KIA is they want us to have a (trade) mission with their potential suppliers in Korea,” Talancón Ostos said. “They don’t want them (suppliers) near them; they want them two to three hours away. They don’t want to be fighting for engineers, for employees, with their suppliers. They don’t want them to have them very close, so they said the best thing is to have them in Tamaulipas.”

Talancón Ostos gave the interview during the 24th Annual Logistics and Manufacturing Symposium held at Texas A&M International University in Laredo.

Talancón Ostos said the meeting with the KIA leadership was very productive.

“I told them, just give me those (suppliers) who are coming and I can go to Seoul, talk to them and show them what Tamaulipas has to offer,” Talancón Ostos said. “And that’s one of the advantages we have now we are working with the president of KIA. We had a meeting last month with the president to understand what they need and that’s why we’re going on a mission to Korea, China and Japan.”

Talancón Ostos said the China, Korea and Japan trip was originally planned for one week but has now been extended for two and a half weeks. He said he will be accompanied on the trip by representatives from the city of Nuevo Laredo.

New Manufacturing Plant for Matamoros

Two weeks ago, Talancón Ostos helped open a new Key Safety Systems manufacturing plant in Matamoros. The company has already hired more than 600 employees and expects to hire more. The Key Safety Systems (KSS) plant will assemble steering wheels for automakers like BMW, General Motors, Ford, Jeep and Tesla vehicles.

Talancón Ostos said the KSS project has grown very quickly over the last few months, with the company set to reach their target goal of 1,400 employees. He said the State of Tamaulipas had a major role in bringing the company to Matamoros by providing incentives and showing them how they can help develop and invest in engineers locally.

“KSS is all over the world. They have been around for a hundred years. This is their first plant in Matamoros,” Talancón Ostos said. “We worked together with the city to show what we have to offer. There’s a lot of good engineers and that’s what they’re looking for. They’re gonna invest and develop in engineers and they’re going to have research in Matamoros. That’s what we’re looking for. Matamoros is producing a lot of good engineers.”

Asked why Tamaulipas is becoming increasingly attractive to potential manufacturing firms, Talancón Ostos said the state is now far more proactive in its approach.

“We have to make sure they know of our promise. There are a lot of companies wanting to come back from China to Mexico. A lot of companies are looking at putting their plants in Chihuahua, in Tijuana and San Luis. We have to be there to make sure that they know what Tamaulipas has to offer,” Talancón Ostos said.

“That was the problem before. We were just waiting for them. Just because we are on the border we thought they would come and look for us. That’s not the way to do it. We need to go and look for them, find them, show them what we have to offer, bring them in, and show them what incentives we have to offer.”