Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gourmet Show - Mexico City - September 2- 4

For all of you gourmet food lovers in Mexico City, this weekend's Gourmet Show is the event for you!

The Gourmet Show will be held at the World Trade Center in Colonia del Valle, September 2-4 from 11am to 8pm.  Tickets are available for $150 MXN each day (or send me a message for an invite).

Some of the conferences available:
-"Coffee in the Kitchen"
-"Truffles Laurent Trouble Style"
-"Get to know the difference between regular and organic food"
-"Salads and Dressings: A fresh alternative"
-"Fine European Pastry Making"
-"Mexican Cheeses"

This show is ideal for chefs, wine enthusiasts, foodies, sommeliers, coffee lovers, bartenders, restaurant owners, and everyone passionate about food!

I will be exhibiting at the show (booth 610) the following brands:

Robert Rothschild Farms
Rain Republic Chocolate
Sonoma Gourmet
Kiwa chips
De Rossetti Olive Oils
...and more

Tell your friends, neighbors, anyone who might be interested.  It is going to be a great event!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pink Women Only Taxis in Mexico City

A few years ago, women and children cars in the metro were introduced.  If you've ever been on the metro in Mexico City in rush hour, you'll know why they did this.  Women were constantly being harrassed, touched, and ogled in the mixed metro cars, so the government provided the women and children only cars as a way to make women feel safer.

They also implemented what are called "Athena" buses.  The buses look like normal city buses except they have pink writing on the side that say "Women and Children".

In September, Mexico City will roll out a fleet of pink taxis for women.  The taxis will charge the same fares as regular taxis, and a number of women taxistas are currently undergoing training to prepare for the launch. 

This is not a totally new concept, as pink taxis have been running in the state of Puebla for some time.  It will be interesting to see if this catches on and becomes the most popular transportation choice for women in Mexico City. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mexico Proposes Tougher Limits On Cash Transactions

In an effort to curb money laundering, President Felipe Calderon is proposing tough new laws that prohibit cash transactions for items exceding $100,000 MXN (equivalent $7,700 USD). 

It is not uncommon for drug lords to spend large amounts of cash when purchasing homes, cars, and other luxury items.  In fact, around 75% of transactions in Mexico are cash transactions.

One possible problem seen is that the limit on dollar and cash transactions will hurt legitimate businesses, especially near the border where transactions are conducted in both currencies. 

The Association of Bankers in Mexico has also proposed a "black list" of suspected criminals that will allow them to verify identities before opening up a bank accounts.  While this seems like a great idea, how will they account for the fact that many criminals use several aliases (and have "official ID" to back it up)???

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Weekly Currency Update: Mexican Peso

The Mexican Peso is currently trading at $12.96 MXN = $ 1 USD. 

Some events that affected the economy/business environment:

-Sales of existing homes in the United States fell sharply last month
-Mexican retail sales rose 1.5% in June (year over year)
-Slowing US Economy will curb demand for exports from Mexico
-Mexican's tourism sector is starting to see a comeback (35% increase in international passenger traffic in June)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mexican Business Terms: PyMEs

If you are doing business in Mexico, sooner or later you will come across the term "PyMEs".  You'll see it on bank websites, government websites, at trade shows, in the news.  You might even be asked if you are a PyME.  The answer, if you have your own business, will most likely be "Yes".

PyMEs stands for Pequena y Mediana Empresas, which means "Small and Medium Sized Businesses".

Mexico is a country that has a long history of encouraging entrepreneurship, and recently a campaign  staring "Pepe y Ton~o"was launched to show what an impact small and medium sized busineses owners have on the country.  PyMEs generate 8 out of every 10 jobs in the country.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mexico's trade deficit reaches $1.04 Billion USD

Interesting article in the WSJ regarding Mexico's trade deficit...

WSJ article - Mexico trade deficit

Monday, August 23, 2010

List of US products eligible for tariffs in Mexico

The list of US items that will now face tariffs when exported to Mexico was retooled and issued last week.  The list now looks like this (courtesy of San Antonio Express News):

The revised list of U.S. products with Mexican tariffs adds:

• Pork products: 5%

• Cheeses: 25%

• Sweet corn, frozen: 15%

• Pistachios: 20%

• Oranges/grapefruits: 20%

• Apples: 20%

• Oats/grains: 10%

• Chewing gum: 20%

• Chocolate: 20%

• Ketchup: 20%

• Polishes/adhesives: 10-15%

• Rubber gloves/floor coverings: 10-15%

• Thermos containers: 15%

• Trench diggers: 15%

• Gas masks: 5%

The list drops:

• Shelled peanuts: 20%

• Dental floss: 15%

• Commercial catalogs: 20%

• Yarn: 15%

• Carpets: 20%

• Jewelry: 20%

• Venetian blind fittings: 20%

• Locks: 20%

• Metal mountings/fittings: 20%

• Telephone sets: 20%

• Battery cell waste and scraps: 20%

• Various metal furniture: 15%

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mexico City going green: Law prohibiting plastic bags in effect

As of today, Mexico City supermarkets will no longer be allowed to give away plastic bags. 

The law, proposed in 2009, took effect last night at midnight.  The Mexican plastics industry had been lobbying for ammendments to the law since last March, but none of them were passed.

Penalities for giving away non-biodegradable bags include jail time and heavy fines (up to $118,000 USD).  It remains to be seen how strictly this new law will be enforced. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Dial a Mexican Phone Number

I have hesitated writing this post for awhile because I thought that most people who do business with Mexico know how to dial outside the country, but the other day when I received an e-mail from a potential client saying "I don't understand how I dial your number" made me rethink the importance of this post (for the record my instructions for how to dial were pretty clear!).

Let's say someone in Mexico City gives you their cell phone number.  "Call me on my cell, it is 1234-5678".  Here's how you would dial from outside of Mexico:


Ok, now on to office phones...let's say the manager of your plant in Guadalajara wants you to call his office phone - and gives you a "4567-8901" number.  You would dial the following:


The general pattern goes like this:

011 (international dialing prefix) + 52 (Mexico country code) + 1 (if it is a cell phone, no need to dial if it is a house or office phone) + 55 (this is the city code - 55 is for Mexico City) + 8 numbers (the real telephone number)

So, what if you are in Mexico and dialing?  For cell phones, you will need to dial 044, the city code, and then the number.  Our first example would be:


NOTE:  The 044 switches to 045 when you are dialing a cell phone outside of the city you are in.

In Mexico and dialing a land line?

If you are in the same city, just dial the number as is.  If you want to dial another city or state, dial 01, then the city code, then the number:

01-33-4567-8901 (dialing a Guadalajara office phone from Mexico City)

I hope this clears up the confusion.  When all else fails and you are stuck dialing, just ask someone for help!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mexico to impose tariffs on 99 US products

In retaliation over the trucking dispute, Mexico has decided to impose tariffs on 99 goods from the US.  The US was supposed to have proposed a solution to the trucking issue, which has banned Mexican trucks from crossing the border to deliver goods in the US.  According to the rules established by NAFTA in 1994, Mexico should be allowed to cross the border to deliver goods, but the US claims that Mexican trucks did not meet safety standards.  The pilot program that was to let Mexican trucks in the US, was cancelled by a provision in a bill passed by US Congress last year.

Some of the items that will be subject to tariff:

US Pork
Chewing Gum

The official list of goods will be posted in the next few days.  This is a huge blow to US manufacturers who export these items and the total financial impact could reach over $2.5 billion USD. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mexico News in English

While it is always preferable to learn the language of the country you are doing business in or living in, not everyone has the desire or the time.  Below is a popular list of English language publications in Mexico:

The Baja Times

The Gringo Gazette

The Guadalajara Reporter

The Mexico City News

Focus on Mexico News

Playa Maya News

Check 'em out!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Weekly Currency Update: Mexican Peso

The Mexican Peso is trading at $12.74 MXN = $ 1 USD.

Besides Mexicana airlines declaring bankruptcy this week, here are some other important events:

  • Mexico's auto production was up in July
  • The US Fed announced it would reinvest funds from maturing bonds in order to keep interest rates low
  • Mexico and Central American countries advanced in their second round of talks to create a free trade agreement
  • Industrial production in Mexico increased 8.4% in June

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mexican Business Etiquette: Who pays?

The question of who pays for a business meal is confusing for a lot of people, even within their own country, so when you throw another country and culture into the mix it gets confusing.  Let's say you are traveling to Monterrey, Mexico to meet the general director of a maquiladora who will be manufacturing parts that you will sell in the US.  The general rule is this: if you are the party that is seeking the business relationship, you should pay.  However, you will find that most of your Mexican partners will insist on picking up the bill since they feel like hosts and because you took the time to travel to visit them. 

Note - a single woman should never ask a man out to a business lunch unless there is another party invited (her business associate, his business associate, etc).  It may sound old school, but you will aboid the chance of putting yourself in an uncomfortable position.  If you have to have the meeting alone for whatever reason, make sure it is in a neutral place, like the restaurant of your hotel.  It is not common for women to pick up the check in Mexico, even if you are the one that proposed the meeting in the first place.

The most important thing when it comes to the bill is to never make a scene.  If your Mexican business partner (or potential partner) agrees to pay, gracefully accept and show your gratitude. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

General Motors to invest big bucks in Mexico plant

(Dow Jones)--U.S. automobile giant General Motors Co. said Tuesday it plans to invest close to $500 million in its Ramos Arizpe plant in northern Mexico to produce a new line of engines as well as a new vehicle.

Of that amount, the company is investing $284 million to manufacture eight-cylinder engines with spark-ignition direct-injection technology, known as SIDI, Grace Lieblein, chief executive of GM de Mexico, said at an event.

"We estimate that these technologies allow for a 9% improvement in fuel efficiency from current engines," Lieblein said, adding that the investment will directly create 390 jobs in Coahuila state, where Ramos Arizpe is located.

Another $215 million will go toward upgrading the factory's production lines to build a new vehicle for the domestic and international markets, she said, noting that the investment will be key to maintaining 400 jobs.

Assembly of the vehicle, which wasn't named, is set to begin in the last quarter of 2011. GM plans for it to "give long-term viability to this plant by gradually substituting some production volumes."

Lieblein said General Motors has invested $4.1 billion in Mexico over the last four years.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The importance of a good translation

How many times have you looked at a product or marketing copy and laughed because the wording just didn't seem right?  It happens all the time.  Someone within the company may claim to speak another language and be able to handle the translations for the marketing department, and next thing you know they've got thousands of brochures printed with an incorrect translation. 

What many people fail to understand is that speaking another language fluently does not mean that you are able to translate in that language.  Many people translate literally, which is a mistake.  Think about all of the expressions we have in English that if translated directly would sound very strange (the earlybird gets the worm for example).  When translating, you must convey the meaning of the phrase in the proper context.

I know that many companies get scared off when then start to get quotes for translations because they never expected prices to be that high.  "Google has a free translator, can't I just use that?" they think.  Just as you would entrust a graphic designer to handle your logos and corporate identity, you should pay a professional translator to work on your translations.

A funny video on interpretation in 7 languages:

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Weekly Currency Update: Mexican Peso

Today the Mexican Peso is trading at $12.52 MXN = $ 1 USD.

Events this week affecting the Mexican economy:

  • US employment data (more jobs added in July) lifted the peso to a five week high
  • US stocks were up, causing peso to strengthen
  • According to Hacienda, 559,700 new jobs have been created in Mexico in 2010, over 60% of them permanent

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mexicana Airlines Files for Bankruptcy

The biggest news this week in the Mexican business world is Mexicana airlines filing for bankruptcy.   Mexicana has stated that this should not affect currently scheduled flights, but Several flights to the US have already been cancelled including 4 daily flights between Mexico City and Los Angeles. 

The decision to file for bankruptcy comes after the unions failed to agree to the new cost-saving measures that Mexicana had proposed.  Mexicana also had debts which exceeded $1 billion USD, due in part to the drop in tourism last year caused by the swine flu. 

According to Mexicana's president the average salary of a Mexicana pilot is around $220,000 USD/year.  The average salary for a flight attendant is around $53,000 USD/year.  These are considered very, very good salaries in Mexico.  Just to give you an idea, the average minimum wage per day in Mexico is around $4.50 USD/day!!!

Mexicana has two affiliate carriers which will not be affected by the bankruptcy - MexicanaLink and MexicanaClick. 

It will be interesting to see how other carriers step in and handle the passengers who use to travel exclusively on Mexicana.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Trade Shows in Mexico

A great way to start to do business in Mexico or check out a particular industry is by attending a trade show.  Mexico is home to a number of big industry trade shows, and they are held all over the country - Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Cancun, Los Cabos, etc. 

Below is a list of different venues and their calendars:


Centro Banamex

Expo Bancomer

World Trade Center


Expo Guadalajara



Monday, August 2, 2010

Mexipreneur: What would you like to see

I started this blog with the two main ideas in mind.  One, to provide tips on setting up a business in Mexico with nitty gritty details that other websites may leave out.  Two, to provide interesting information on what is currently going on in the Mexican business world. 

Now I would like to know....what would YOU like to see?  What is most useful/helpful to you the reader? 

-Interviews from other expats doing business in Mexico?
-Spanish business terminology?
-Business ideas?

Feel free to leave comments below or shoot me an e-mail!