In Brief – News and Analysis – August 2011

Published 29 August 11 01:35 PM



Tijuana safer than Cincinnati

“I felt safer in Tijuana than I do in most places in Cincinnati,” words spoken by the Chief Financial Officer of a major U.S. company visiting Tijuana investigating the possibility of starting a maquiladora operation there. While not at liberty to disclose the name of the company at this time, the story is worth telling as it bodes well for the recuperation of Baja and as more and more of the actual facts are discovered by visitors. In addition to the great observation above quoted, there is also other great news coming from this one visit.

I was asked to organize a visit by the company’s CFO and V.P. of Operations (COO) that is the third largest in its field in the U.S. with annual sales of several hundred million.  The company was interested but concerned with the security issues as well as worker’s efficiency – but in particular the “drug war” security as in Ohio the newspapers had really played out the issue. So it was with some trepidation that the two executives arrived.

The team chosen did Tijuana proud. Judith Wilson of Bryan, Gonzalez Vargas & Gonzalez Baz for the law: Mauricio Monroy of Monroy Contadores for the accounting: Jean-Paul de Kervor of Maquila Properties for the industrial real estate, Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano of Barbachano International and Warren Carter of Qualifind for the key personnel executive search. They each came across as the true professionals that they are and duly impressed with their hospitality and competence winning the respect of the visitors.

Even the bureaucratic process came across looking good. The first stop was at the port of entry immigration office (Gobernacion) for the visitors to obtain their Mexican FMM visa (business visa – USD$24 good for 180 days). The officer and staff were friendly and efficient; the team was out of there in less than 20 minutes – very impressive. Further good news for the region was that there were other business people obtaining the same type of visas.

JP de Kervor, really knows his business, he know each of the industrial parks, where the vacancies are, the sizes, prices, infrastructure and everyone in the parks and buildings visited knew him by first name or rather initials – JP. He also made arrangements to visit existing maquiladora operations and speak with the management. Judith Wilson also arranged visiting some of the law firm’s maquiladora clients. Each place was well managed and the workers’ efficiency was impressive. In one such visit, as we were about to leave the owner of the maquiladora with over 400 employees (furniture mfg, Los Angeles headquarters) was arriving and introduced to the group. I took the opportunity to ask him for the benefit of our visitors about his take on the security issue to which he replied he had been in Tijuana 10 years and has never had a problem and the follow up question about worker’s efficiency he said it was better than five times greater than he had experienced in the U.S.

The visitors were taken throughout the city – to the east, to the south, to the north and west so they got to visit quite a bit of the municipality over the two days they visited. While going over the legal and accounting details Lic. Wilson’s office with Monroy, the CFO made his observation regarding his feelings of safety. The next day I met for breakfast before their departure and was thanked profusely and assured that Tijuana will be the placed for their company.


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