October 2019 California Delegation to Mexico City Led by Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis
Thursday, October 3 – Business-Related Meetings
Today began with a breakfast hosted by Mexico’s National Conference of Governors (CONAGO) and Rolando Garcia Martinez, Director General.
Lt. Governor Kounalakis spoke at the breakfast about California’s initiatives on trade and investment with Mexico. This was followed by remarks from the outgoing Governor of Baja California, Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, who highlighted the growth in border crossings and economic development.
Then representatives of some of the 31 states spoke: Sonora, which now has its first female governor; Hildago, in the central part of Mexico with a low unemployment rate; Jalisco, with an emphasis on cooperation in the areas of climate change, environment, water and energy; Baja Sur, working on strengthening tourism with 3.6 million visitors last year. I also spoke with the representatives of Guanjanto, with its auto and auto parts production, in addition to supplying 75% of the broccoli supplied to the United States; and Miochan, the home state for 1 million people living in California.
Then the delegation headed to Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet with Ambassador Mario Chacon to discuss the priorities of the California-Mexico bilateral relationship and cooperation. Ambassador Chacon presented slides and information about the United States and the California-Mexico trade relationship. He indicated support for the USMCA and highlighted the 52 free trade agreements Mexico already has in place. He further discussed the border crossings, both commercial and other. He recognized that Mexican migration to the United States has subsided and there now actually is a reverse migration to Mexico. The Ambassador spoke about the many consulates in the United States and the various services they provide. Ambassador Liliána Ferrer Silva, who serves as Consul General in Sacramento, spoke about the good working relationship with the Lt. Governor’s office and what a privilege it is to represent Mexico in the United States. Ambassador Ferrer Silva has accompanied the delegation throughout the Mexico trip.
Liliana Ferrer Silva was ratified by the Mexican Senate in March 2017 to be the new Consul General of México in Sacramento. Ferrer Silva has been a member of the Mexican Foreign Service since 1993. Prior to her appointment to Sacramento, Ferrer Silva was Chancellery Director at the Mexican Embassy in France. Earlier in her career, she was Director of Political Affairs at the Mexican Embassy in the United States.
Consul General Ferrer holds bachelor’s degree in international relations from UC Davis and master’s degrees in international relations from UC San Diego.
In a significant historical coincidence, Ferrer Silva’s father, Ambassador Carlos Ferrer Argote, also served as Consul General of Mexico in Sacramento from October 1979 to November 1982.
Next on the schedule was lunch at Club Piso 51, on the 51st floor of a high-rise building called Torre Mayor — one of the tallest in Latin America. Lunch was hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico and President Jorge Torres, who also is President of Federal Express in Mexico. During the luncheon, we heard from a panel of California companies operating in Mexico on best practices for doing business in Mexico.
Following the luncheon, the delegation met with the Consejo Coordinador Empresarial (CCE), the Business Coordinating Council at the JW Marriott Hotel.
We heard welcome remarks from Odracir Barquera, Director General of the CCE, who spoke about current and future business opportunities between Mexican and Californian companies. The delegation then heard about CCE’s U.S.-Mexico Strategy and support for the USMCA from Jaime Zabludovsky, top Trade Adviser for CCE and Chair of IQOM.
CCE is Mexico’s private sector umbrella organization representing 1 million businesses. The organization recently has moved to be more policy oriented. There now are seven focus areas: access to opportunities, sustainable infrastructure, growth and innovation, rule of law, public finance, democracy and social commitment, and foreign affairs. The CCE now has an office in Washington, D.C. and is very involved in the the support of the USMCA in the United States. There also is discussion of creating a California-México CEO Dialogue, based on the national model.
After meeting with CCE, the delegation had a brief afternoon break before the gala evening reception back at Casa California. We continue to negotiate traffic with 15 million cars in a city of 25 million.
The Casa California reception was the culmination of our mission to Mexico. At the reception, our delegation was accompanied by local business partners in Mexico, Mexican officials and dignitaries, UC alumni, and UC conference attendees. More than 200 people attended,
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