Canadian Plastics

Mexico Report: On a mission

By Michael LeGault, editor   



Mexico City -- A group of Canadian machinery and mold suppliers had an eye-opening experience as they got to meet Mexican buyers face-to-face as part of a trade mission. The mission was held in conjun...

Mexico City — A group of Canadian machinery and mold suppliers had an eye-opening experience as they got to meet Mexican buyers face-to-face as part of a trade mission. The mission was held in conjunction with the Plastimagen plastics trade show in September. The trade mission was jointly organized by Industry Canada, Export Development Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The mission’s specific focus was the plastics, mold and packaging industry. Seven Canadian companies and 44 Mexican companies participated. The mission visited Monterey, Mexico City and Guadalajara in five days.

StackTeck Systems was one of the Canadian companies in the trade mission. Based in Brampton, ON, StackTeck specializes in the manufacture of high-cavitation molds for high-volume production in the thinwall packaging, closures, medical and high-tech markets. The company joined its first trade mission to Mexico two years ago, but feels it got better results this time around.

“This mission was well organized,” said Christopher Day, regional sales manager, Mexico. “We got to see profiles of the companies before coming down. The process helped us match our capabilities to the technology needs of Mexican companies in the markets we cater to.”

Maximizing the efficiency of buyer-seller meetings during the mission was accomplished by considerable up-front legwork carried out by the mission’s three organizing government groups. Through offices in Mexico and Ottawa, government staff obtained the names of Mexican companies interested in buying Canadian equipment, and the names of Canadian companies wishing to sell into Mexico. After reviewing company profiles, both Mexican buyers and Canadian suppliers picked the companies they were interested in meeting. Appointments were arranged between companies with shared interest in meeting one another.

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“The screening process meant no one’s time was being wasted,” said David Valle, commercial officer at the Canadian consulate in Monterey. Valle said that each Canadian company visited, on average, five different Mexican companies in each of the three cities. Overall, more than 100 meetings between Mexican buyers and Canadian companies were held during the mission.

Another critical benefit of the mission for Canadian companies was getting a chance to see the plants and equipment of the Mexican buyers.

“We didn’t hold the meetings in hotels for this reason,” noted Valle. “We went out to the plant. It was an eye-opener for Canadian companies to see the buyer’s businesses and capabilities on a first-hand basis.”

QUOTING BEGINS

All the Mexican companies participating in the mission were serious about purchasing new equipment and upgrading their technology, reported Valle. Many of the companies have delayed capital investments, he noted, so the acquisition of new technology had become even more imperative. The one-on-one meetings between buyers and sellers were positive and focused; many of the Canadian companies have already been requested to provide quotes. The president of one Mexican firm was so impressed by a company’s equipment line he proposed representing the Canadian company in Mexico.

“From a Mexican perspective the mission was helpful, because Mexican companies say one of the reasons they don’t buy from Canadian firms is that they don’t know what Canadian companies have to offer,” said Valle.

Another of the mission’s participants, Ryka Blow Molds Ltd. of Mississauga, ON, was interested in learning as much as it could about business south of the border.

“Our objective is to crack the Mexican market, and the trade mission gave us a good venue to develop contacts and do market intelligence,” said John Weinrauch, Ryka technical sales representative.

Ryka designs and manufactures blow molds for the packaging, automotive and industrial markets. Weinrauch reported that Ryka was interested in meeting end-users and suppliers in all three cities on the trade mission’s itinerary.

“We’re impressed by the growth and diversity of the Mexican market,” Weinrauch said. “Coca-cola, Pepsi, Cadbury — all the big players are down here.”

The positive feelings generated by this trade mission have created a momentum and mandate for future Mexican/Canadian trade missions, reported Marie-Claude Erian, relationship manager, plastics and packaging sector, EDC. She said government and industry are weighing the possibility of organizing a mission of incoming Mexican plastics companies to visit Canadian equipment suppliers in the first half of 2003. As well, another trade mission to Mexico will be planned to roughly coincide with the Plastimagen show in 2004.

For Canadian companies on a mission to crack the Mexican market, joining one may be the best way to accomplish it.

Did you know that …

The Mexican plastics industry has achieved 10% growth over the past five years.

Over 80 percent of plastics and packaging equipment, worth almost $3.1 billion, is imported annually into Mexico.

Mexico’s plastics trade association, Asociacion Nacional de Industrias del Plastico, A.C. (ANIPAC), can assist Canadian companies with contacts and research on the Mexican industry. ANIPAC can be reached at 55-76-55-47 or www.anipac.com

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