Thursday, November 22, 2007

The 3 tequila lunch is dying in Mexico

Remember the 3 martini lunch from the 1960's?

According to this article from Reuters, Power Omeletes kill Mexico's boozy business lunch. Mexico's mid-day business dinner with cocktails is evolving into a more efficient, non-alcoholic breakfast.

I've seen a move to more breakfast meetings in Mexico.

They are more efficient and focused, much shorter,less expensive, no alcohol is involved and it's a great way to start the business day.

Related Links

Power Omeletes kill Mexico's boozy business lunch

Lunches and Dinners

Thursday, November 15, 2007

WRC Rally Mexico 2008

The World Rally Championship returns to Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico for yet another rally in spectacular conditions in Central Mexico.

Confirmed dates for the Mexico rally are February 28 - March 2, 2008.

Related Links

WRC Mexico Rally 2008

World Rally Championship Home

Get to know Leon, Guanajuato

Official Corona Rally Site

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ANPIC 2008

ANPIC, is an important international leather industry suppliers trade fair held annually in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico.

The dates for ANPIC 2008 will be Thursday February 14, 2008 - Sunday February 18, 2008, at the Poliforum Leon.

If you're involved in the international leather components and accessories industries, ANPIC is a fair that should not be missed.

Expositors include:
Components, Accessories and Fittings
Lasts, Heels and Soles
Hides and Skins
Machinery and Equipment for Footwear
Machinery and Equipment for Tanneries
Chemical Products
Synthetic Materials and Textiles

Related Links

ANPIC Fair of the Americas

ANPIC 2008 - Leon, Guanajuato

Leon, Guanajuato Mexico

Hotels in Leon Guanajuato

How to do business in Mexico

Poliforum Leon

Monday, November 5, 2007

Telephone dialing instructions - Mexico

Dialing the phone in Mexico is a bit complicated due to different access codes and dialing instructions for the different carriers.

In order to make your life easier, for business or vacation travelers, here is quick comprehensive telephone dialing guide for landlines and cellular phones in Mexico.

Covers 90% of the telecommunications companies currently in Mexico. Dialing instructions for local, national long distance and international long distance.

Dialing Instructions for Telephones in Mexico
Dialing from
Received by
How to dial
Number of Digits
Landline in Mexico
Cellular in Mexico (local) same area code
044 + Area code + telephone number
Landline in Mexico
Cellular in Mexico, long distance
045 + area code + telephone number
Landline in Mexico (Not Telmex)
Cellular in Mexico, long distance
01 + area code + telephone number
Landline in Mexico
Nextel (local) same area code
Telephone number
Landline in Mexico
Nextel in Mexico, long distance
01 + area code + telephone number
Landline in Mexico
Long Distance, telephone in USA
001 + area code + telephone number
Landline in Mexico
International long distance
00 + country code + area code + telephone number
Cellular Phone in Mexico
Landline in Mexico (local call)
Telephone number
Cellular Phone in Mexico
Landline in Mexico, long distance
01 + area code + telephone number
Cellular Phone in Mexico
Cellular (local) same area code
Area code + number
Cellular Phone in Mexico
Cellluar in Mexico, long distance
045 + area code + telephone number
Cellular Phone in Mexico
Nextel (local call), same area code
Telephone number
Cellular Phone in Mexico
Nextel in Mexico, long distance
01 + area code + telephone number
Cellular Phone in Mexico
Telephone in USA
001 + area code + telephone number
Cellular Phone in Mexico
International long distance
00 + country code + area code + telephone number
Landline in Mexico
011 + 52 (country code for Mexico) + area code + number
International (not USA)
Landline in Mexico
00 + 52 + area code + number
Cellular in Mexico
011 + 52 + 1 + area code + number
International (not USA)
Cellular in Mexico
00 + 52 (country code for Mexico) + 1 + area code + number
October 25, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

SAPICA 2007 - September 27-30 2007

SAPICA 2007 - Leon, Guanajuato

If you are involved in the footwear industry, the shoe business or the leather goods industry, SAPICA 2007 will be of interest.

Held twice a year in Leon, Guanajuato Mexico, this years footwear and leathergoods trade fair, Spring-Summer edition, is being held from September 27-30, 2007.

Related Links

SAPICA - Squidoo

SAPICA - official website

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Industrial development in Mexico, opportunities in Guanajuato and Sonora

Guanajuato and Sonora are two states in Mexico singled out by Expansion Management as areas of opportunity for industrial development.

A quote from the article:

Two states, Guanajuato and Sonora, capture, if not the breadth of diversity between the states, the contrasts between them. Guanajuato is using its educational resources and location to position itself as a logistics center in Mexico, while Sonora uses its automotive base to expand into aerospace." David Hendricks

Related Links

States in Mexico offer expanding companies a wealth of advantages

Expansion Management

Need to know about Leon, Guanajuato

Industrial and Business Parks in Mexico

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Economic development in Mexico - social network site

I was invited to a new social networking site on the Ning network, Build Bridges Not Walls!.

The idea behind the site:

"People that want economic development in Mexico will trade together. This site is to put people together for electric handshakes, trade, new business ideas or just old friends finding each other again."

Members can add photos, videos, blog entries, comments and meet others with similar interests about business and economic issues related to Mexico.

Looks like it will be an interesting site.

Related Links

Build Bridges Not Walls!

Ning, create your own social network

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Investment Protection Agreement signed - Mexico, India

Mexico has signed a 10 year bilateral investment promotion and protection program (BIPA) with India on May 21, 2007.

This is significant for several reasons.

  • Allows investment protection to foreign investors in both countries
  • Free repatriation of funds to investors
  • Allows Indian companies access to the USA and European market through manufacturing in Mexico
  • Offers protection of Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Opens the door for Preferential or Free Trade Agreement negotiations in the future

India’s government and private industry sees Mexico as a “trampoline” to the US market, and also entrance into Mexico and Central America.

I have no doubt we will begin to see some Indian investment in Mexico and India-Mexico joint ventures in the very near future.

I strongly recommend that Mexico review, simplify and speedup the time and reduce the costs related to obtaining a travel visa for Indian business people.

Related Links

India, Mexico sign investment protection agreement

India looks for key to NAFTA in Mexico

India eyes free trade with Mexico for better access to NAFTA

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How to write numbers in Spanish

A great link brought to my attention by Brett Grossman about writing numbers in Spanish.

At first glance the site is in Spanish and may frighten you....keep going it's quite easy to understand.

The page provides the correct spelling in Spanish and is a must have if you're going to be working with written numbers, writing checks or just want to improve your knowledge of Spanish.

He says "It is a link that might be helpful for new-to-Mexico business people...the finer points of writing numbers in drove me crazy when I first got to Tampico...I can't tell you how many checks were rejected because of the smallest error and the cost of a bounced check at Serfin is upwards of $800 pesos + IVA".

If you're new in Mexico and don't understand Spanish make sure to go here Nombres de los numeros en Español (Names of the Numbers in Spanish) and make a copy for your office, wallet or'll be glad you did.

Related Links

Nombres de los numeros en Español (Names of the numbers in Spanish)

Spanish Language: Counting the Cardinal Numbers

donQuijote: Numbers 1 to 100

donQuixote: Larger Spanish Numbers

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mexico Investment Portal

Aaron Burda and I have begun work on a very interesting (and hopefully useful) project. Providing information and online links, in English, for foreign investors and businesses wishing to examine, analyze and evaluate Mexico for business operations.

The Mexico Investment Information Project (link)

We are a Creative Commons licensed project (i.e. not for profit) whose mission is to provide the best online resource to foreign businesses looking to invest in Mexico. Currently online is a very rough "mock up" of a website that we are planning to build over the next several months.

If you would like to participate in the project and feel you have some valuable expertise to contribute please apply for a userid.

Project History

The Investment Portal is a combination of two projects. Lee Iwan's Accumulated Experience Blog and Aaron Burda's UC Davis Graduate School of Management Mexico Research Project. Both Lee and Aaron were convinced that the quality of the information available on the Internet about doing Business in Mexico could be substantially improved.

Project Future

We hope to organize the existing Internet English language resources about doing business in Mexico and add to it through having select volunteers write succinct articles on relevant business topics.

If you are a Banker, Lawyer, Accountant, Environmental Expert, HR Manager, Logistics Manager or other qualified and experienced individual with business expertise about Mexico and would like to provide information, advice, or website links to this project, don't hesitate to contact us.

Related Information

Mexico Investment Portal

Understand Mexico Blog

Business South of the Border

Lee Iwan Accumulated Experience

Monday, March 26, 2007

Determine cultural conflicts between Mexico and your home country

This is a great site to help determine possible cultural conflicts between your culture and Mexico.

It compares 4 dimensions of cultural differences; Power Distance, Individuality, UncertaintyAvoidance and Masculinity.

From the site: "Welcome to the Intercultural Business Communication tool. This simple online tool offers a great resource for people wanting to get some intercultural business communication tips when working with people from different cultures. All you do is choose your own country and another country and we produce a graph that shows the the major differences between the two cultures. You then get some insightful intercultural business communication tips for working in or with that culture."

Intercultural Business Communication Tool

It provides a comparison between the countries, and then provides tips in order to reduce or manage this cultural gap.

Very interesting.

Related Links

Intercultural Business Communication Tool - Kwintessential Language and Cultural Specialists

Geerte Hofstede, Cultural Dimensions

Cultural Misunderstanding- it can happen to you

Create great international business relationships

Need to know about Leon Guanajuato?

Yet another Squidoo lens.

This time focused on Leon Guanajuato Mexico. Happens to be the town I’ve been living in for the past 15 years.

Information about Leon Guanajuato

Leon is internationally “famous” for the shoe making and leather industry (80+% of all Mexican shoes, boots and leather goods come from Leon).

Leon is also growing due to the automotive industry and an “industrial corridor” being created between Leon and Celaya.

On top of all this, the service sector continue to expand and grow due to the population growth, the Poliforum Convention and Exhibition Center and the Poliforum Cultural Center.

Related Links

Information about Leon Guanajuato

Hotels in Leon Guanajuato

SAPICA International Footwear and Leather Goods Show

ANPIC Fair of the Americas

Quick start - doing business in Mexico

I made a lens over at Squidoo that provides a good starting point for anyone beginning to analyze Mexico as a country to do business with.

Hotels in Leon, Guanajuato Mexico

Seeking hotels in Leon, Guanajuato?

For those business or pleasure travellers seeking hotel information for Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Hotels in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico

Information about hotel type, address, phone and fax numbers, and the all important website address.

Related Links

Squidoo - Hotels in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico

TripAdvisor - Leon, Guanajuato Hotels

Mexico - Links to economic and financial statistics

An inquiry from Andrzej from Poland regarding sites that provide economic data for Mexico has prompted me to provide the following links.

The official and definitive source for Mexican statistics is INEGI (the National Statistics, Geography and Information Institute). There is one little glitch however, it’s only available in Spanish INEGI Instituto Nacional de Estadisticas, Geographia y Informacion.

The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has a statistical profile of Mexico, covering 40 statistical databases. OECD Statistics Mexico

The World Bank Doing Business site offers indicators of the regulatory costs of doing business in Mexico and is comparable with 175 economies. Doing Business Explore Economies - Mexico.

The Banco Nacional de Mexico, BANIXCO offers a site with up-to-date macro and financial market data about the country and monetary policies. BANIXCO Economic and Financial Indicators.

Another source of economic information about Mexico can be found through contacting the Mexican Embassy or Mexican Consulate in your part of the world. The Economic or Commercial Officer will be able to provide the information you are seeking. Mexican Embassies and Mexican Consulates worldwide.

Related Links

IMF predicts strong economic growth for Mexico

Global competitiveness - 2006 - Mexico and China

General reference links for doing business in Mexico

How to do business in Mexico

ANPIC 2007 Leon, Guanajuato Mexico

ANPIC 2007. This is the annual international trade fair for leather tanning, leather chemicals, machinery and supplies for the footwear industry held in Mexico since 1980.

The “Fair of the Americas” (Feria de las Americas) is held in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico from February 17, 2007 through February 20, 2007 at the Poliforum Exhibition Center in Leon.

Leon, Guanajuato is the leather tanning and shoe making capital of Mexico.

Visitors will find 1200 national and international suppliers of:

  • Shoe machinery and equipment
  • Tanning machinery and equipment
  • Chemical products
  • Hides and skins
  • Synthetic materials and textiles
  • Lasts, heels and soles

Related Links

How to do business in Mexico

ANPIC 2007

ANPIC 2007 calendar of events

ANPIC 2007 Hotel list

ANPIC 2007 contact information

Business South of the Border

Discount and Budget Airlines in Mexico

Low cost and budget airlines are finding their way to Mexico.

These new airlines are offering international flights and national flights between intermediate cities in Mexico previously only accessible through bus lines or at much higher prices via the full service airlines.

The budget minded vacation or business traveller should check out the schedules and prices of these airlines next time you are travelling in and around Mexico.

Aero California


Alma de Mexico

America West


A Volar



Click Mexicana



Jet Blue


Mexus Airlines



Viva Aerobus


Related Links

Attitude Travel Latin America Low Cost Airlines

Discount Airlines in Mexico

How to call Mexico from the US

Airport Codes for Mexico

Christmas bonus - the aguinaldo in Mexico

Employers in Mexico are required by law, to give employees a Christmas bonus.

The “aguinaldo” is a mandatory annual payment given in the month of December, prior to the 20th, to each worker in Mexico. This includes all employees in private industry, and all government employees.

The aguinaldo is equivalent to 15 days wages, or more. For employees with less than a years service, a pro-rated payment is provided.

This puts added strain on cash flow and accounts payables for Mexican organizations during the month of December. At the same time it creates a huge burst of economic activity throughout the country.

Related Links

Christmas parties and holiday gifts in Mexico

Mexican official and unofficial holidays

How to do business in Mexico

Indirect messages and business etiquette in Mexico

A comment from .hj highlighted an important issue when doing business in Mexico. He wrote ” (Mexicans) will try to deliver a message using indirect messages and almost never telling things directly for it is consider unpolite”

Etiquette and formal behaviour is expected in Mexican business negotiations, especially with international clients or suppliers. This will become more relaxed and informal over time, as the trust is reinforced and expectations are met on both sides.

It is all about mutual respect.

The formal rules and behaviours (etiquette) that enhance and create an atmosphere of respect have been broken down or eliminated in the USA, but in Mexico they are critical and very much a part of business dealings.

The Mexican business person does not like to create a confrontation or criticize openly, it is considered rude and ill mannered. One should be very perceptive to what is being said by your Mexican partner, what is being avoided and the implications of each behaviour.

One should avoid open criticism of the Mexican partner. They expect the same formality given to you, it is embarrassing and awkward if one begins to point fingers and rant and rave.

Make comments and observations about areas that need attention, strategies and solutions that must be adapted and challenges that must be met instead of criticism of past performance. Discuss what is working and what isn’t working, but don’t personalize it.

You may not hear direct criticism of an idea or proposal, instead there might be suggestions of alternatives.

Your ideas, proposals and solutions may be greeted by nodding heads and smiling faces, but it may only signify that the audience is listening, and not in complete agreement.

Decision-making on sensitive or unpopular issues may be delayed and not openly debated. Give your Mexican partner time to deal with these issues, and don’t force a decision in public.

If able to plan the meetings in advance, propose an agenda, and include the issues you need to discuss, or that require a decision. Give them time to prepare for the meeting and the decision-making required. Don’t demand a decision in an open meeting.

Lunches and informal settings are where the real business discussions and dialogues will take place, and even then, will be presented may be in a vague and non-confrontational manner. Use these moments to explain and explore the ideas, benefits and alternatives. Listen.

Present yourself and treat your business relationships as a well educated respectful gentleman, not like a threatening conquering warrior barbarian. Participate, listen and react to business situations with poise, calm and politeness.

Related Links

How to negotiate with Mexican business people

Doing Business in Mexico - cultural tips

How to speed up doing business in Mexico

Speeches and Protocol in Mexico

Christmas parties and holiday business gifts in Mexico

The month of December is Mexico is filled with Christmas and holiday parties and social events.

The population of Mexico is 95%+ Christian and openly celebrates Christmas in private industry and government displays. Be aware that there are other religious groups in Mexico that do not celebrate Christmas in order to avoid offending suppliers or clients.

These Christmas and holiday reunions are usually mid-day dinners or late suppers. There will be get-togethers for friends, business acquaintances, associations and any committees or other groups that you might belong to.

There is also the company Christmas party.

Failure to attend the holiday events are noticed and considered rude. It’s better to arrive and steal away early than to avoid the reunions all together. Remember Mexico is a very socially oriented culture, failure to attend and participate in the social events will not help you, it might work against you.

Corporate and business gift giving is very important, and in many cases expected at Christmas time. The low end gifts range from the traditional; calendars and pens, agendas, calculators or other promotional type gifts to the higher end: fine liquors (Tequila, Scotch whiskey, Cognac, Red wine), fine food baskets, electronic equipment (Palms, IPods, etc.), gift certificates to restaurants, etc.

Unlike the USA, it is common in Mexico to give holiday gifts to the decision-makers in the purchasing department unless the companies have a policy against it.

Cut flowers or live plants are not considered an appropriate business gift.

Holiday gifts are given to important (and not so important) clients or to key people in the clients organization with whom you have a personal/business relationship (for example the secretary who answers all your calls or the logistics person who solves problems all year long).

Some transnational companies have tried to limit and reduce the amount and quality of business Christmas gifts in the past few years. It is not looked upon kindly by customers who always reflect upon the amount of money they have spent with the supplier, and believe the Christmas gift is a “thank you” and recognition of their support and loyalty throughout the year.

Work begins to slow down in Mexico at the beginning of December, and after December 12 (The Day of Guadalupe) efficiency grinds to a halt. It’s impossible to get major decisions, and many times difficult to locate business owners and managers due to events and social engagements.

Most Mexican businesses (not in tourist areas) are closed during the week between Christmas (Dec. 25) and the New Year (Jan 1). The Mexican government prohibits highway transport of certain goods and tractor trailers during this peak family vacation period.

Related Links

How to do business in Mexico

Mexican official and unofficial holidays

Tipping guidelines for Mexico

Doing Business in Mexico - cultural tips

Advice on what to expect when doing business with Mexico

Corruption, bribes, mordidas, tips - doing business in Mexico

Mexican politics - what business people should know

In order to begin to understand Mexican politics (an impossible task), it’s important to learn some fundamentals of the political system in Mexico.

  • There is no re-election for political officials for the same post in Mexico. Current office holders can sit-out a term and run again for the same office, or they can run for another political post.
  • The political parties control the selection of party candidates who run for office, at Federal, State and local levels. Political parties, and their leaders are very important.
  • In order to be remain in politics one must please both the party and the electorate.
  • The term for the President of Mexico is for 6 years, with no re-election.
  • The term for State Governor is 6 years, with no re-election.
  • The term for Senators is 6 years, with no re-election for a consecutive term.
  • The term for the Camara de Diputados (similar to the House of Representatives in the US) is 3 years, with no re-election for a consecutive term.
  • The term for local mayor is 3 years with no re-election for a consecutive term.
  • The term for State representatives and local elected positions is normally 3 years, with no re-election for a consecutive term.
  • Changes in the Mayor, Governor or President, cause major reshuffling of bureaucrats and administrative officials. This causes a slowdown or “unofficial” shutdown of some government offices between the election date and the date of the new administration start-up.
  • The lack of re-election encourages and favors the current politicians and parties in power to seek out projects with short term visible benefits. They are pushed to show successes, infrastructure projects or other tangible benefits during their term of office in order to get promoted and elected to future political posts.
  • In the Mexican states with stable, well defined political party tendencies and majorities, there is more focus on medium and long term projects and planning as the benefits can be attributed to the party.
  • If selling a long term project to the government, it should include short term benefits, or tangible results, so that the politicians involved can claim credit.
  • Never try and initiate the sale or negotiation of a major project to the State government during the last 6 months or year of a Governors term. It will be stalled, and you will have to “resell” it to the new administration.
  • Get to know as many local and State and Federal political officials as possible, in 3 to 6 years they are all sitting in different positions of power and influence in the government.

Related Links

How to do business in Mexico, Politics and Political Parties

How to speed up business decisions in Mexico

Patience, chaos and doing business in Mexico

Official websites of the Mexican states

Best States for business in Mexico - World Bank Report 2007

How to tell if your Mexican banknotes are counterfeit

How to tell if your Mexican banknotes are counterfeit.

The handling of foreign currency creates a whole new set of challenges for the business or vacation traveller.

The Bank of Mexico has a webpage dedicated to explaining the security features of the Mexican coins and banknotes so you don’t get bamboozled. Verifying Mexican banknote authenticity

Learn about the security features in Mexican banknotes to eliminate the possibility of receiving “funny money” during your travels.

Security features in manufactured Mexican banknotes - A quick chart to help identify the security features in the current banknotes in circulation in Mexico.

Security features in the 20 Peso polymer banknote

Security features in the 50 Peso paper banknote

Security features in the 100 Peso banknote

Security features in the 200 Peso banknote

Security features in the 500 Peso banknote

Security features in the 1000 Peso banknote

If you believe you have counterfeit Mexican currency, bring it to the attention of a Mexican bank for verification. If the banknote is counterfeit you will not be reimbursed for it’s value, but you might avoid going to jail. Passing counterfeit currency is illegal in Mexico.

The US Department of State Consular information sheet for Mexico states A number of Americans have been arrested for passing on counterfeit currency they had earlier received in change. If you receive what you believe to be a counterfeit bank note, bring it to the attention of Mexican law enforcement.”

Related Links

Mexican currency, monetary policy and financial systems - BANXICO

Banco de Mexico - BANXICO - Bank of Mexico

Top states for business in Mexico - World Bank Report 2007

I highly recommend that you download and read the Doing Business in Mexico 2007 report, released on November 15, 2006.

For anyone currently doing business in Mexico, or thinking about doing business in Mexico, this is a must read.

The World Bank Group has announced that “Doing business became easier in many Mexican states in 2005-2006, according to the new Doing Business in Mexico 2007 report, released today in Mexico City. The report finds that some states compare well with the best of the world, while others need much reform to become globally competitive.” - November 15, 2006

Quick results of the top ten Mexican states based upon the factors of; starting a business, registering property, obtaining credit, and enforcing a contract include:

  1. Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes (Easiest)
  2. Guanajuato, Celaya
  3. Nuevo Leon, Monterrey
  4. Sonora, Hermosillo
  5. Campeche, Campeche
  6. Zacatecas, Zacatecas
  7. Queretaro, Queretaro
  8. Michoacan, Morelia
  9. Sinaloa, Culiacan
  10. Mexico City (Most difficult)

A full listing of all the 31 Mexican states is available in the report.

Excerpt from the report: “If you were to open a new business in Mexico City, the start-up procedures would take 27 days on average, 8 days fewer than in Shanghai. If you decided to open a business in Guanajuato or Aguascalientes, you would have to wait 12 days—only one day longer than your competitor in Amsterdam. But if you needed to take a customer to court for a simple debt default in Guanajuato, resolving the dispute would take 304 days—far longer than the 217 days it takes in Dublin,1 but significantly shorter than in Baja California Sur where it takes 581 days. These examples illustrate two patterns. First, some Mexican states compare well with the best in the world. Second, many states need much reform to become globally competitive.”

Related Links

Press release on Doing Business in Mexico 2007 (PDF, 75KB)

Doing Business in Mexico 2007 (PDF, 1.26MB)

World Bank Report - Doing Business in Mexico 2005

Speeches and protocol in Mexico

Speeches for private industry, trade association and government events are quite common in Mexico.

  • Every event is started with a speech, or number of speeches from local, state or federal government officials, association presidents or high ranking members or the corresponding private industry equivalents.
  • Generally when a speech is given in Mexico to a group, formal protocol is followed.
  • For larger events a professional master of ceremonies will be hired to make the speaker introductions and keep the event moving.
  • Each speaker thanks and acknowledges by name and title each member sharing the stage or table of honor.
  • Mention of each member should be given by rank. Highest ranking official or member first, followed by the others in descending order.
  • Speeches in Mexico tend to be long. Government officials tend to give lots of numbers and statistics. Despite the audience’s desire to hear a short, focused discourse.
  • It is considered rude to take cell phone calls, carry on conversations with your neighbor, crack jokes or not pay attention during the speeches. If you can’t tolerate it, excuse yourself and leave the room.
  • Often invited guests and members sharing the podium do not have anything important to say, they are invited as a courtesy or as part of the political/social protocol.
  • After the initial speeches are over, some government officials may leave for other events.
  • Use these opportunities to network and exchange business cards. It is often easier to make initial contact with important figures at an event instead of via telephone calls and emails to their office.

Related Links

International business - cultural mistakes

Create great international business relationships

Advice on what to expect when doing business with Mexico

Meeting people in Mexico - kiss, shake hands or hug?

Mexican currency, monetary policy and financial systems - BANXICO

Everything you want to know about Mexican monetary policy, Mexican financial and payment systems, Mexican currency, Mexican banknotes and Mexican coins can be found at the Banco de Mexico site: BANXICO English language website.

BANXICO: “Banco de México is the central Bank of Mexico. Under the Constitution, it is autonomous in its operations and management. Its main function is to provide currency to the domestic economy. In discharging this task, the Bank’s priority is to ensure the stability of the currency’s purchasing power. Its other functions are to promote both the sound development of the financial system and the optimal functioning of the payment systems.”

The BANXICO site includes detailed sections on:

Need to know what the currency and coins currently in circulation in Mexico look like? Check out the sections entitled

Related Links

BANXICO Foreign Exchange Market

BANXICO Securities Market

BANXICO Inflation

Sourcing and supply chain strategy - Mexico

Purchasing from Mexico and Mexican suppliers?

Don Gringo at Catemaco News and Commentary brought these items to our attention.

Sourcing in Mexico gets easier. The article points out that doing business with Mexico is easier than in the past.

  • The proximity of Mexico to the US markets impacts communication, logistics, costs and time factors.
  • Mexico has a history of dealing with the US, and are familiar with competitive manufacturing techniques.
  • Relationships are critical to success.
  • Beware of stereotypes.
  • Take the time to find the “right” partner.
  • Do’s and don’ts for doing business in Mexico

Does your supply chain strategy include Mexico? It should. Al Brown president of SupplyMex writes that Mexico offers:

  • Logistics infrastructure, highways, rail and port system that has been improved over the past 10 years.
  • Free trade agreements with 42 countries.
  • Global production and quality standards.
  • Stable political and economic environment.
  • Skilled workforce.

Thanks Don.
Related Links

Why you should pay attention to free-trade treaties

Maquiladoras in Mexico

Industrial and Business Parks in Mexico

Corruption in Mexico

Corruption in Mexico

Quite a bit of interest generated from the piece regarding corruption and bribery in Mexico. Corruption, bribes, mordidas, tips - Doing Business in Mexico

Don Gringo says “Mexico possibly has one of the best governments anyone could buy. And cheap, too.” Catemaco News and Commentary

Bernard Wasow writes in the Globalist “It is no secret that the at law enforcement in Mexico is a “for-profit” business.” Greasing Palms: Corruption in Mexico.

Wide Angle presents a Corruption Chart; How big is Mexico’s problem. Which gives a great state by state overview and comparison of corruption levels in Mexico.

A quote from the page: “According to anti-corruption czar Francisco Barrio, the cost of corruption by government officials and by everyday Mexicans surpassed the amount budgeted for education by more than three percentage points — some 9.5 percent of Mexico’s GDP of $550 billion. Recent studies by the World Economic Forum, an international organization that works to improve worldwide economic conditions, found that the business environment such as rule of law, transparency and corruption were disincentives for foreign investment in Mexico. Corruption, which is often described as a tax, adds to the cost of doing business. The Opacity Index, a study conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, found that Mexico lost $8.5 billion in foreign direct investments in 1999 due to corruption and other suspect legal or economic practices.”

Corruption exists in every country in the world, in politics, in business, in everyday life. In some countries it’s more sophisticated or hidden, in others it’s obvious and required in order to get things done. Mexico is no exception.

People seem to ignore corruption in their own countries, and react with shock and anger to corruption in others.

Depending on where you live in Mexico, what you are trying to do, and who you are dealing with, your experience with corruption and bribery will not echo anyone else.

Evaluation of Mexico, China, Brazil, India or any other country as a potential business location or market should include an analysis of how corruption will threaten and affect your operations, efficiency and bottom line.

Your organization should have a clear understanding of the situation and create a set of rules governing how to deal with the reality and any situations that might arise.

You have to ask and answer the question, “do I want my organization to participate and be involved in corruption and bribery, and at what levels”?

Get advice and information from local businesspeople and consultants on the reality of corruption and bribery. Learn how the culture deals with it, detects it and punishes it before you commit to a strategy, path or action plan.

Related Links

How to do business in Mexico, Parts 1 - 28

Tipping guidelines for Mexico

Doing Business in Mexico - cultural tips

World Corruption Perception Index - 2006

Patience chaos and doing business in Mexico

Questions - Answers, Doing business in Mexico

Have any questions about how to do business in Mexico?

Any specific problems or dilemmas related to doing business in Mexico?

Questions about the business culture in Mexico or Mexican culture in general?

Would you like to know more about a specific theme related to Mexican business?

Need references or information about organizations, people or associations in Mexico?

Send your questions to me at lee.iwan at
or post a comment here.

Related Links

How to do business in Mexico

Official government websites of the 32 Mexican States

The definitive dialing guide for calling Mexico

Shorten your learning curve about Mexico

Business South of the Border

How to speed up business decisions in Mexico

When doing business in Mexico, one of the fundamental complaints I hear from non-Mexican business people is the speed at which business in transacted.

They say there are 5 speeds to the Mexican economy, I believe they also apply to negotiations in Mexico.

1. Slow.

2. Slower.

3. Stalled.

4. Going in reverse.

5. Dead.

It can be quite frustrating, but it is part of Mexican business culture.

There are several options available that may help speed up the decision-making process in Mexico.

  • Make certain you are both working for the same goal. Write it down, discuss it, and determine that everyone is seeking the same thing. There should not be any hidden agendas.
  • Set fixed and specific dates when the data or information must be available or the decision will be made. Get personal commitments from the other participants. Don’t settle for vague answers, get them to agree in public to bring the specific data or make the decision on a specific date. Personal, not institutional responsibility.
  • Does everyone have all the information required to make the decision? Write down what is missing and assign responsible parties and dates for completion.
  • Follow-up with phone calls and written communication and verify that everything is running on schedule. You will have to dedicate more time to “motivating” or “prodding” than you are used to in your own country.
  • Don’t get angry. If there is no decision it is because of a reason you don’t understand or hasn’t been verbalized. Anger is seen as threatening, and not part of a good relationship, it will hurt you more than help you.
  • Be patient. It always takes longer than you think it will.
  • Keep up the communications, in fact increase them. Contact all the team members involved, try and discuss the project or decision informally (outside of the office or work environment).
  • It might be the money. When everything looks perfect, and still no decision, it might be due to money (or lack of it). Try and discuss this privately with the head decision-maker.
  • It might be the risk or control involved. Bring the subject out in the open and discuss the risks and control issues involved for both sides. This is best done informally with the team members, one on one.
  • It might be NO. Mexicans do not like to say no or give bad news in certain situations. They believe it is impolite, and many times will not respond or will allow the situation to continue until it fades away without a “yes or no” decision being made.

Related Links

Patience Chaos and doing business in Mexico

Doing Business in Mexico - cultural tips

How to negotiate with Mexican business people

How to do business in Mexico

What does Gringo mean

The term “Gringo” is used in Mexico to refer to Americans. Depending upon it’s use (and user) it may or may not be an insult.

My experience with the term in Mexico is that it is a convenient way to refer to Americans, much shorter that “Americano” or “Norte Americano”. Most of the time it’s use is not offensive or meant as a derogatory or demeaning remark.

Many Mexicans will not use the term around Americans thinking that it might offend. Even after establishing friendships when the term “Gringo” is used, often someone will apologize.

Where did the term originate? There are several stories, urban myths and rumours:

From Wikipedia: “A recurring false etymology for the derivation of gringo states that it originated during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. It has been claimed that Gringo comes from “green coat” and was used in reference to the American soldiers and the green color of their uniforms. Yet another story, from Mexico, holds that Mexicans with knowledge of the English language used to write “greens go home” on street walls referring to the color of the uniforms of the invading army; subsequently, it became a common habitual action for the rest of the population to yell “green go” whenever U.S. soldiers passed by. This is an example of an invented explanation, because gringo was used in Spanish long before the war and during the Mexican-American War. Additionally, the U.S. Army did not use green uniforms at the time, but blue ones.

Another legend maintains that one of two songs – either “Green Grow the Lilacs” or “Green Grow the Rushes, O” – was popular at the time and that Mexicans heard the invading U.S. troops singing “Green grow…” and contracted this into gringo.

From the Snopes Urban Legends Reference Pages: “Although the first recorded use of “gringo” in English dates from 1849 (when John Woodhouse Audubon, the son of the famous nature artist, wrote that “We were hooted and shouted at as we passed through, and called ‘Gringoes’”), the word was known in Spanish well before the Mexican-American War. According to Rawson, the Diccionario Castellano of 1787 noted that in Malaga “foreigners who have a certain type of accent which keeps them from speaking Spanish easily and naturally” were referred to as gringos, and the same term was used in Madrid, particularly for the Irish.

The true origin of gringo is most likely that it came from griego, the Spanish word for “Greek.” In Spanish, as in English, something difficult or impossible to understand is referred to as being Greek: We say “It’s Greek to me,” just as in Spanish an incomprehensible person is said to hablar en griego (i.e., “speak in Greek”).”

According to the Real Academia Española (the ultimate reference for the Spanish language): 1. Adjective: Foreigner, especially one who speaks English, in general one who speaks a language other than Spanish. 2. Foreigner 3. In Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua an American 4. In Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru a blond fair skinned person 5. Unintelligible language
Related Links

Doing business in Mexico - cultural tips

Doing Business in Mexico, parts 1 - 28

Corruption, bribes, mordidas, tips - Doing business in Mexico

There are perceptions and realities associated with bribery and corruption when doing business in Mexico.

Corruption, bribery, “mordidas” (translated as “bites”, but are actually bribes) and tips are part of Mexico and the foreigner’s perception of Mexico.

It’s a difficult subject to address because it involves ethical and moral decisions for the foreign visitor or business person. What is culturally OK in Mexico, may be seen as immoral and corrupt by an individual from another country.

Historically, corruption in Mexico is blamed upon the Spanish conquistadors. While corruption no doubt existed prior to the Spanish conquest, they certainly did institutionalize it in government and throughout the Mexican (and Latin American) culture.

Today corruption, bribery and tipping occur at all levels of Mexican society and at many different degrees. For one reason or another it has become part of daily life. Most of it involves small sums of money, and is thought of as tipping and not as a bribe.

In fact, to eliminate corruption in Mexico overnight is unrealistic and would probably result in chaos. As some Mexican observers have noted, “La mordida” is the grease that makes the system work.

All of the following might occur in Mexico. Which of the following are acts of corruption or bribery? Which are totally unethical, somewhat unethical, and no big deal? Which of these events occurs in your country ?

  • The garbage collectors come by every 2 weeks, rings the doorbell and ask for money for a soft drink, US $1 or $2.
  • While waiting in a long line, someone comes up to you and asks if you would like to avoid the line and be attended right away. It will cost US $ 5 to US $ 10, and save you 2 hours.
  • Your application for a permit/license has been in the government office for several weeks, and no one seems to be able to tell you what is wrong. The secretary asks if you would like to buy a raffle ticket for some organization. After buying the ticket the application suddenly appears.
  • You visit a local political leader and take him to dinner and a theater event to discuss your project.
  • At holiday time, you send gifts to politicians, suppliers and business associates.
  • Your daughter copies exam answers from another student at school.
  • The police stop you for a traffic violation (which may or may not have occurred). They suggest that for US $ 20 or $ 50 you can make it disappear, and you’ll be on your way in 5 minutes.
  • You need government agency approvals for your business project. In order to make sure everything is done correctly, you hire an official in the department as a consultant.
  • You require a zoning change on a piece of land, you invite a government official to participate as an investor in the project, or perhaps give him some shares.
  • Your son or daughter wants to get into a nightclub, the doorman says no. They give him US $ 5 and walk right in.
  • A city inspector finds code violations in your restaurant. A call to a family member, who knows someone, who knows someone, results in the violations being revoked.
  • A drug enforcement agent receives a phone call that tells him to choose between accepting USD $ 20,000 payment this year to let a drug shipment go by unharmed or to have his children shot.
  • Your immigration papers are not quite right. There is a document missing. You are able to convince the official (though words and tears) to “overlook” the situation, no money is exchanged.

Can you live and work in Mexico and not pay bribes? Yes. (I’m lived and worked in Mexico over the past 14 years and have never paid a “mordida” in my private or business life.)

Are bribes necessary for doing business in Mexico? I think it depends on the circumstances. Most business can be done without them. It depends on you, and your evaluation of the situation. There must be certain areas where influence peddling, and “mordidas” are an integral part of the business, and other areas where it’s not required in the least. This is not unique to Mexico.

All Mexican local, state and federal governments and government agencies are not corrupt. In fact, in the past 10 years there have been great advances in transparency in government, including guarantees for the time involved in processing applications and permissions.

Mexican federal public policy and local and state governments have been actively reducing and eliminating institutionalized corruption and penalizing government workers involved in illegal acts. There is still a long way to go before it’s completely eliminated, but there has been a noticeable change in many areas.

Mexico’s poverty, unequal distribution of wealth, history and culture make it difficult to eradicate corruption overnight. Mexico is a country with many laws, but they are not well enforced. It’s similar to the temptation one might feel on the lonely country road at 3:00 AM and confronting a red light… you stop…or run through it?

You should develop and hold firm to your own ethical and moral principals in order to live and do business in Mexico. If you don’t do it at home, why would you do it in Mexico?

Your company should have a clear policy about corruption and bribery, and hold to it when doing business in Mexico, or internationally.

If you have any personal experiences or observations about corruption, bribery, mordidas and doing business in Mexico, please write me or comment here.
Related Links

How to do business in Mexico, Parts 1 - 28

Tipping guidelines for Mexico

Doing Business in Mexico - cultural tips

World Corruption Perception Index - 2006

Patience chaos and doing business in Mexico