by Esteban Herrera

What the (President) Fox has to say: Take a closer look at Mexico

Jan 26, 2016
OutsourcingTechnology Industry

Former president of Mexico Vicente Fox has a unique perspective on how politics and commerce play a part in the US-Mexico relationship and how that relationship affects the business services industry. In the second half of our conversation, I asked him what he thinks about the current state of things.

Last week, I posted the first half of a conversation I had with former President of Mexico Vicente Fox. In it, we discussed what Mexico is doing to become a serious player in the global IT and business process outsourcing industry. According to Fox, the country’s success depends, to at least some degree, on the diplomatic and commercial nature of its cross-border relations.  

ESTEBAN HERRERA:  President Fox, you have succeeded at the highest levels of both politics and business. In the U.S., we are in an election cycle in which immigration, trade, and diplomacy have become central issues. In your opinion, is the U.S.-Mexico relationship improving or deteriorating?

 PRESIDENT VICENTE FOX:  Well, I cannot take seriously this first phase of the electoral campaign in the United States.  It is being competed by many who don’t really have the capacity to become leaders of that great nation. They are just aspiring to get there, but really they will be satisfied by simply increasing their name recognition—they don’t even take themselves seriously when they say they will be the candidate of their own parties.

To me, what is going on right now has no value at all. And public opinion moves one day to one side and next day to the other. [In 2016], when we have the real candidates, when we have the real debates, when we have the real campaigns, then we’re going to see what’s going to happen. 

But for the moment, except for Donald Trump who has polarized the issue of migration, the rest have a much more positive understanding of this issue, an understanding that is not based on fear and that has to do with a pragmatic view of the situation and convenience to both of our economies in NAFTA.

There is no doubt today that NAFTA corporations—the global corporations that operate, that output their production, their ideas and their services using the three economies of NAFTA—Mexico, Canada and the United States—are the most successful corporations of all.

So it’s clear that North America—Mexico, United States and Canada—must work together, partner, and use the [strengths] of the three economies to succeed.  There is no other way to succeed.  Today in Silicon Valley, more and more immigrants are bringing the ideas and the innovations that Silicon Valley is generating. A lot of Latins, a lot of Hispanics, a lot of Indians, are the brains of Silicon Valley today.

So it’s clear, North America is one, and should be working as one entity to be able to be competitive not only in manufacturing, like it happens today, but also in the knowledge economy.  And we see more and more of this going on among the three of our nations in North America.

HERRERA:  My readers are mostly IT executives and service providers. What is the one thing that you would like them to know about Mexico that they may not know today?

FOX:  Well, I would say exactly what I’ve been saying in this interview, that they need to be very professional in the way they look at Mexico and they look at NAFTA, to get enough information to have the proper judgement and evaluation of Mexico. Possibly they don’t know the trade exchange we have, which is reaching one trillion dollars. And maybe they don’t have information about the intense exchange between sophisticated universities in United States, like Stanford, Harvard, Penn, all the great universities in United States, associated and working with leading, sophisticated universities we have in Mexico today.

So the only thing they need is to read objective information about Mexico, and not what you get in the newspapers and media. Mexico is not the place of violence that is reflected by the media, it is not a place of killing and a place of drinking tequila.  Mexico is much, much, much more than that.

They just have to look at Monterrey, look at Mexico City. Come and visit Centro Fox in the state of Guanajuato, where we have this sophisticated IT corporation by the name of UST-Global – a global corporation that is the fastest growing in its segment, and expanding to do business now in Mexico and Latin America.  And putting together the best talent. For instance, it is associated with a cybersecurity corporation from Israel, which is an expert on this. UST-Global has found in NAFTA and in the United States, Canada and Mexico partnership, a wealth of resources, including top talent in Mexico. And from here, from Mexico, they are providing IT services and solutions to Fortune 500 corporations all around the world.  They serve not only U.S.-based global corporations, but also Latin American and Mexican corporations that now have become global. And they are putting together their pool of talent in India, 14,000 people working there, with their pool of talent here in Mexico, 900 people. A minimum of 5,000 Mexican engineers, graduates from different Mexican universities, are working for UST-Global, serving the rest of the world.

So this is the thinking that should prevail in your readers, in your IT readers.  Many good things are happening in Mexico, and many more good things are happening in this NAFTA partnership that we have together.

I’d like to extend my thanks once again to President Fox and his staff for making this conversation possible. From time to time, I will try to highlight what some countries and individuals in those countries are doing to advance our industry. If you have a story you would like to share, please contact me!