How item is doing its bit for close economic ties between Germany and Mexico.
When many of us think about Mexico, the first things that spring to mind are usually tourist-trail stereotypes – huge sombreros, lively Mariachi music, Aztec temples, scorching heat and cacti that cast long shadows. It’s all-too easy to overlook the strong economic recovery that the country with the world’s largest Spanish-speaking population has experienced in recent years. During that recovery, particularly close ties have been forged with Germany in what has emerged as a mutually successful cooperation – and item has played a part in that. A great deal is also being done to promote bilateral cultural exchange.
A tried-and-tested partnership
“If there were just one part of this Earth that you could call paradise, it would have to be Mexico.” Those were the words that explorer Alexander von Humboldt used to sum up his experience of Mexico in the early 19th century. The legendary naturalist is the founding father of German-Mexican relations. However, those relations only really started to intensify in the year 2000, not least thanks to a free trade agreement between Mexico and the EU. While there were only 600 German-headquartered companies in Mexico in 2002, today there are 1750 operating in the country. Together, they employ more than 120,000 people and account for just under seven percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product.
Germany has become the country’s biggest EU trading partner. Mexico’s geographical situation between North and South America and its independence from the euro are both important factors, as are business-friendly trade deals, particularly with the US. However, Mexico is also an interesting sales market in its own right. For example, German exports last year hit a total volume of 11.1 billion euros. A large number of the German companies with branches in Mexico operate in the automotive sector, although the country’s chemical, pharmaceutical and mechanical engineering sectors are also strong.
Success in Mexico
Given these highly promising developments, it is no surprise that we are also represented in Mexico – and have been for almost two years. The original idea was to have a central warehouse for two of our US distribution partners, so that they could be supplied with materials efficiently. In 2011, during the course of an expansion plan, the warehouse became our headquarters for North and South America. In 2014, after a few more than encouraging years, we took the decision to build up strong support from distribution partners.
We now have four distribution partners in Mexico – item Noreste Mexico, item Oeste, item Sur Mexico and item Bajio. The latter is the latest company to join the item network in Mexico. The Bajio region includes the states of Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Queretaro and San Luis Potosi and has become the central hub of Mexico’s automotive industry. The electronics and aerospace sectors are also booming there. All in all, it offers the best conditions for adding another successful chapter to the history of German-Mexican trade relations.
One of the latest developments in the exceptionally good relations between the two countries is Germany-Mexico Year, which kicked off in April 2016 and will run until May 2017. It forms part of the agreements made by the Binational Commission (BNC) of Germany and Mexico, which was established in 2015. The aim is to showcase culture, economy, science and politics in the partner country.
The launch event in spring – staged at the Martin-Gropius-Bau exhibition hall in Berlin – was an exhibition entitled “The Maya – Language of Beauty”, which was opened by Germany’s President Joachim Gauck and Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto. A major exhibition of paintings by Otto Dix (1891-1969) followed in Mexico in June. Future highlights of the “Año Dual” include the Max Planck Science Tunnel and an open-source project about urban mobility.
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