BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 12, 2022
Last Thursday two memoranda to enhance business synergy between Belize and Mexico were signed by representatives of the two countries. The Government of Belize’s press office says the historic signing is an effort to forge stronger relationships between Belize and the bordering Mexican state of Quintana Roo – a destination frequently visited by Belizeans.
The first MOU was signed between the Corozal Free Zone (CFZ) and the Chetumal Industrial Park. The CFZ is still bouncing back after being shut down during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This signing between the two entities seeks to facilitate collaboration and attract investments and possible new markets. Millions of dollars have been invested in the Chetumal Industrial Park in Quintana Roo (US$74 million was invested in 2019 to fund the construction of warehouses and industrial buildings).
The Ministry of Finance and the Secretary of Economic Development for Quintana Roo also signed an MOU to formally establish a framework for inter-organization technical cooperation. The two agencies have four overarching goals they aim to accomplish through these agreements: to generate opportunities for investments and business between the countries, jointly develop regional investment programs and policies, promote investment opportunities through trade fairs, meetings, and exhibitions, and promote cooperation in training and education for greater capacity-building between the entities.
The ease of sharing information and creating meaningful business collaboration is also a major objective of the signings, as well as creating greater business opportunities within the short term, ranging from agro-industry and tourism, to education, customs services, and other activities.
The Governor of Quintana Roo, Carlos Manuel Joaquin Gonzalez, witnessed the signing along with Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño. During an interview following the signing of the MOUs, PM Briceño said that the link between Mexico and Belize will open the door for products to enter the CARICOM market.
“We believe that by setting up this installation here and connecting it to the free zone in Corozal, we can use that avenue to create—to be able to connect to the CARICOM market. Belize is a member of CARICOM, and that’s why we can use Mexican products or materials to finish the processing in Belize and then have access to the CARICOM market. It’s a great opportunity for both countries, for both Quintana Roo and Belize, and I want to urge Belizean business people to take advantage of this, to come here, take a look at what’s happening, and see how they can take advantage of this great opportunity that is being made available to us through this memorandum of understanding,” PM Briceño said.
Meetings between the CEO in the Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Investment, Nadia Garcia, and officials from Mexico to lobby for the signing of this agreement have been taking place since the start of this year, said PM Briceño. He said that the country is not only seeking to open the Mexican market, but also to use the geographic advantage of Belize’s location to use materials from Mexico to create products that can eventually be sold in the CARICOM market, adding that a similar arrangement can be made with Guatemala.
“This time, again, the work with CEO Garcia and her team, they’ve been pushing to see how we could participate and take advantage of those opportunities. As I mentioned in my speech a short while ago, we can then take materials from Mexico, bring them into Belize, convert it into a product, and then export [it] into the Caribbean duty-free. We are also expanding the partial scope agreement that we have with Guatemala. The same thing we can do. We can take products from there—the materials—finish the production in Belize and then export into Guatemala. We mentioned the issue, for instance, of lime, that when there is a shortage in Belize, we can bring products from Quintana Roo, introduce it in Belize, mix it with our product, and continue the production. So, the opportunities are limitless,” stated PM Briceño, who noted that now is the time for Belizeans to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves with the signing of these MOUs.